Gary B. Melton is a visiting professor of education and family medicine at the University of Virginia. His primary affiliation is with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where he is associate director for community development and social policy in the Kempe Center for Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, professor of pediatrics in the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and professor of community and behavioral health in the Colorado School of Public Health. He is also an adjoint professor of psychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and an adjunct professor of youth, family, and community studies at Clemson University. For 30 years, he directed interdisciplinary centers and institutes (usually as founding director) at, successively, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of South Carolina, and Clemson.
Dr. Melton has served as president of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (formerly the American Orthopsychiatric Association [Ortho]), the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice, the American Psychology-Law Society, and Childwatch International, a global network of child research centers that is sponsored by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. He has received four Distinguished Contributions Awards from the American Psychological Association, an unmatched achievement. He has also been honored for distinction in research and public service by two APA divisions, the American Psychological Foundation, Ortho, Psi Chi, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children. The author of approximately 375 publications and a current or past member of more than 25 editorial boards, Dr. Melton is founding editor of International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy, and Practice (set to begin publication in 2018) and past co-editor of Child Abuse & Neglect and American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
Much of Dr. Melton’s work has been in legal architecture — design of public policy and local practice so that they create structures and processes to facilitate expression of community values. For example, Dr. Melton served as vice-chair of the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect in the early 1990s. In that capacity, he led the Board’s development of proposals for a new neighborhood-based strategy for child protection and a parallel re-definition and re-organization of related federal efforts. From 2002 to 2008, he led the application and evaluation of the Board’s strategy in Strong Communities for Children in the Greenville, SC, area. Relying on thousands of volunteers and hundreds of community organizations (e.g., churches; civic clubs; fire departments; small businesses), Strong Communities was designed—and shown empirically—to instill norms of community responsibility and to make preservation of children’s safety and security part of everyday life. As Strong Communities illustrated, Dr. Melton’s approach to design of policy and practice has been to embed assistance “naturally” within primary community institutions, ideally in ways that they fulfill an ethical maxim that “people shouldn’t have to ask.” He seeks to strengthen communities in ways that children and parents know that if they have reason to celebrate, worry, or grieve, someone will notice, and someone will care.
Dr. Melton’s passionate embrace of community —respect for human dignity for all people, no matter how small, and promotion of norms of inclusion and humane care in the settings of everyday life — extends to the global community. A former Fulbright professor at the Norwegian Center for Child Research, Dr. Melton has traveled in approximately 50 countries and territories, in most cases for research, lecturing, and/or consultation. He has been a consultant to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. He chaired APA’s working group on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and he served on the analogous working group of the American Bar Association. At Clemson, Dr. Melton led the development of a unique interdisciplinary graduate program in International Family and Community Studies that is now offered in both South Carolina and Albania. He is now collaborating in the implementation of Strong Communities by Tel Aviv University in various Israeli sites.
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American Professional Society
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American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children | APSAC Center for Child Policy | 2017