Deaths: David Henry, psychiatry and psychology

David Henry

David Henry

David Henry, 64, whose work with urban youth as a minister led him to a career in psychology research and policy, died of cancer Aug. 26.

Henry was a professor of psychiatry and psychology in the College of Medicine and professor of health policy and administration in the School of Public Health. His research focused on child and adolescent development, violence prevention and community-based prevention research.

“David was an outstanding researcher who expertly combined strong conceptual and methodological skills to address the complex problems of youth, families, and communities,” said Robin Mermelstein, professor of psychology and director of the Institute for Health Research and Policy.

“He had a huge impact on adolescent mental health and violence prevention here in Chicago and elsewhere, including with the native tribes in Alaska,” where he was lead statistician for the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, said Paul Brandt-Rauf, dean of the School of Public Health.

Henry was principal investigator on National Institutes of Health and foundation-funded grants and the primary methodologist on prevention and developmental risk studies, including the Metropolitan Area Child Study, SAFEChildren Projects, CeaseFire, Chicago Youth Development Study and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Multi-site Violence Prevention Project.

He helped design and measure the effectiveness of a CeaseFire-based violence prevention program at Orr High School.

Henry earned a doctor of ministry at the Chicago Theological Seminary in 1978 and served at a church in Medina, North Dakota, before becoming minister of the Fourth Congregational Church of Chicago. His work with youth gangs and violence prevention led to his return to school to study psychology.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Roosevelt University and a Ph.D. from UIC in 1993. He joined the UIC faculty in 1991 as a visiting lecturer in psychology.

“Because of his unusual background as a reverend, David brought a special perspective to his academic work — his life and his work were his calling,” said Brandt-Rauf.

Henry was the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on child development and psychopathology, peer influence processes, sexual risk, and prevention of violence, suicide, delinquency and substance abuse.

He received three Jay Hirsch Excellence in Teaching Awards from UIC child psychiatry fellows and the psychiatry department’s Harry Upshaw Award for Teaching Excellence.

“We all lost a great friend and a wonderful colleague,” said Marc Atkins, professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Institute for Juvenile Research.


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