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Social work professor to receive national society's Presidential Award for lifetime achievement in prevention science

Flavio Marsiglia, Regents Professor, School of Social Work, Society for Prevention Research, Presidential Award, 2021

Regents Professor Flavio Marsiglia of the ASU School of Social Work will receive the Society of Prevention Research's 2021 Presidential Award on June 3. ASU photo

June 01, 2021

Regents Professor Flavio Marsiglia’s “outstanding contributions to advancing the field of prevention science” throughout a long and distinguished career led to his selection as the Society for Prevention Research’s 2021 Presidential Award recipient.

The Fairfax, Virginia-based organization will formally present the award to Marsiglia, a professor in Arizona State University's School of Social Work  and director of ASU’s Global Center for Applied Health Research, at a virtual ceremony June 3 during its annual meeting.

The honor is “a ‘lifetime achievement’ award for a significant body of research or theory in any area that has a major impact on the field,” according to a description on the society's website.

School of Social Work Director James Herbert Williams said the Presidential Award is a fitting honor for a scholar whose research on cultural diversity and youth substance use is highly influential in the prevention field. Marsiglia’s research is credited with influencing a measurable reduction in youth drug use and other high-risk behaviors in Arizona, the United States and worldwide.

“This award is just another example of the impact his scholarship has on improving the quality of life for children and families,” Williams said. “Flavio is a valued member of our faculty and the academic community. He is well deserving of this recognition.”   

Marsiglia has developed and tested culturally grounded interventions to prevent substance abuse especially among Latino and other minority populations of the Southwest, including the school-based “keepin’ it REAL” substance-abuse model prevention program. He is the principal investigator of a Mexico-based R01 National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health-funded study to culturally adapt and test the efficacy of keepin’ it REAL in Mexico. 

Marsiglia also has published more than 170 peer-reviewed journal articles that have significantly advanced knowledge about Latino adolescent risk and protective factors and the relationship between acculturation, health and mental health. He is the co-author with Stephen Kulis and Stephanie Lechuga-Pena of the widely adopted textbook “Diversity, Oppression and Change: Culturally Grounded Social Work.” In 2021, Oxford University Press published its third edition.

In 2018, the society presented Marsiglia and his collaborators in Mexico and the U.S. with its International Research Collaboration Award.

Marsiglia said he was humbled and deeply honored by the Society for Prevention Research, which he called “the foremost prevention research organization in the nation and globally.”

He said the award also belongs to all his co-investigators in the United States and in other countries and to all the young people and their families who participated in studies he has conducted for nearly 30 years.

“SPR brings together a distinguished group of prevention scientists from a variety of disciplines, united in a shared goal of developing and testing interventions that promote health equity and well-being,” Marsiglia said. “A prevention perspective has allowed me to identify and support the sources of strength and resiliency that exist within vulnerable and underserved communities. The prevention paradigm is based on hope for a better and most just tomorrow. I am happy to see that my esteemed prevention research colleagues share and value such perspective.”

The Society for Prevention Research held its first meeting in 1991. According to its mission statement, the society is “an organization dedicated to advancing scientific investigation on the etiology and prevention of social, physical and mental health, and academic problems and on the translation of that information to promote health and well-being. The multidisciplinary membership of SPR is international and includes scientists, practitioners, advocates, administrators and policymakers who value the conduct and dissemination of prevention science worldwide.”

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