Message from the Director

Steven R. H. Beach, Ph.D.

Steve Beach smiling at the camera

Thank you for your interest in the Center for Family Research at the University of Georgia. The Center is dedicated to gathering high-quality information from rural African American families in Georgia. These families live in small towns and communities in which poverty rates are among the highest in the nation and unemployment rates are above the national average. They can best be described as working poor, and they are representative of many African Americans living in the southern rural coastal plain that stretches across South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Many African American families have important strengths that allow them to raise healthy children and adolescents in environments that are economically and socially impoverished. One of our missions is to understand what enables these families to rear children successfully in these challenging contexts. You may be familiar with some of this research. If not, just click on publications and you will see a sampling of some recent papers.

An equally important mission of the Center is to translate the information we gather from rural African American families into prevention programs designed to deter adolescents from becoming involved in activities that derail positive development – specifically, alcohol and substance use and early onset sexual activity. We truly believe the adage, “If you want to understand something, try to change it.” The randomized prevention trials that we conduct serve as vehicles for testing both the efficacy of our prevention programs and the heuristic value of the research upon which they are based.

I hope you take a moment to read about our faculty and staff. They are responsible for the Center’s accomplishments; and their enthusiasm, dedication and laughter are infectious to those of us who work at the Center and to the visitors who spend some time with us. Do stop by and see us if your travels take you to the Atlanta-Athens area. Or you are welcome to give me a call at 706-425-2992 if you have questions that I can answer.

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