Dr. J. David Hawkins, Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington, “Prevention Science: Neglected Key to Stopping the Opioid Epidemic”
Dr. J. David Hawkins is Endowed Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington. He received his BA in 1967 from Stanford University and his PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University in 1975. His research focuses on understanding and preventing child and adolescent health and behavior problems. He seeks to identify risk and protective factors for health and behavior problems across multiple domains; to understand how these factors interact in the development of healthy behavior and the prevention of problem behaviors. He develops and tests prevention strategies which seek to reduce risk through the enhancement of strengths and protective factors in families, schools, and communities.
Dr. Hawkins was principal investigator on two landmark studies: the Community Youth Development Study, a randomized field experiment involving 24 communities across seven states testing the effectiveness of the Communities That Care prevention system, and the Seattle Social Development Project, a longitudinal study of 808 multi‑ethnic urban youth begun in1981 when children entered grade one at age six. The Seattle Social Development Project has been continuously funded through the most recent data collection in 2015 when participants were age 39. The SSDP package of teacher and parent-focused preventive interventions, called Raising Healthy Children, has resulted in significantly lower rates of justice system involvement, teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and diagnosable mental health disorders compared to controls as well as significant reductions in racial disparities in economic outcomes and sexually transmitted infections between African Americans and whites through age 30.
Dr. Hawkins has authored over 250 peer‑reviewed articles and several books as well as prevention programs for parents and families, including Guiding Good Choices, Parents Who Care, and Supporting School Success. His prevention work is guided by the social development model, his theory of human behavior.
Dr. Hawkins has received many accolades from academic societies. He is a Fellow of the Society for Prevention Research, American Society of Criminology, the American Society of Social Work and Social Welfare, and the Academy of Experimental Criminology. He is a current member of the Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioural Health, at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), and recently finished a four‑year term on NASEM’s Board on Children, Youth and Families. He is the chair of the Collaborative on Healthy Parenting in Primary Care, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioural Health. He is committed to translating research into effective practice and policy to improve adolescent health and development.