Gary Melton’s passionate embrace of community – respect for human dignity for everyone and promotion of norms of inclusion and humane care in the settings of everyday life – was the foundation of his work for nearly 50 years. Dr. Melton was a faculty member in the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, and 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 was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia in the Curry School of Education and Human Development.
He was editor in chief of International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy, and Practice (sponsored by The Kempe Center and The Haruv Institute and published by Springer) and senior editor of American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
For 30 years, he directed large interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and graduate programs (most of which he founded) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of South Carolina, and Clemson University. At Clemson, Dr. Melton led the development of a unique interdisciplinary graduate program in International Family and Community Studies that has been offered in classrooms in both South
Carolina and Albania and online in both the United States and abroad. Integrating humanities and social sciences and applying democratic norms in community development and policy analysis, the program has drawn students from many countries in political and economic transition.
A former Fulbright professor at the Norwegian Center for Child Research, Dr. Melton has traveled in approximately 50 countries and territories and all 50 U.S. states, in most cases for research, lecturing, and/or consultation.
He formerly was an extraordinary professor in the Centre for Psychology and the Law at the University of the Free State in South Africa.
Much of his scholarly work has been on the application of international human rights law to issues pertaining to children and families. He served as presidentof Childwatch International, a global network of child research centers that was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has been a consultant to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. He chaired the working group of the American Psychological Association (APA) on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and he served on the analogous working group of the American Bar Association.
He also has served on panels of the National Academies on elder mistreatment and on training of health professionals on family violence. As vice-chair of the U.S. Gary B. Melton, PhD
3 Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, he was the principal architect of the Board’s child-centered, neighborhood-based strategy for child protection. Much of his effort in recent years has been in the development, implementation, evaluation, and improvement of Strong Communities for Children, a community-wide, principle-based approach to involvement of whole communities in the prevention of child maltreatment, especially neglect. Across his career, he has been principal
investigator for grants, contracts, and gifts totaling approximately $30 million.
Dr. Melton is the author of approximately 375 publications. He was the initial lead co-author of the principal text in forensic mental health (Psychological Evaluations for the Courts…), now in its fourth edition. His work has been cited by U.S. courts at all levels, and he formerly led a regular congressional briefing series. For several years, he also produced and hosted an award-winning weekly segment on South Carolina public ratio He has also initiated “magazine” sections in the several academic journals that he has edited or co-edited.
In recognition of his multi-faceted scholarship and related public service, Dr. Melton is the only recipient of four Distinguished Contributions Awards in APA’s 125-year history and one of only three recipients of at least three such awards. Dr. Melton has also received awards for distinguished research and public service from APA Divisions 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) and 37 (Society for Child and Family
Policy and Practice), the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children, the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (formerly the American Orthopsychiatric Association), the American Psychological Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse America, and Psi Chi (the national honorary society in psychology). He has served as president of APA Divisions 37 and 41 (American Psychology-Law Society), the APA Section on Criminal Justice (a section of Division 18), and the Global Alliance.
Dr. Melton earned his PhD in clinical-community psychology at Boston University (BU) and his BA at the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar and a duPont Scholar. He was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa honor fraternities. He also was active in Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, the Jefferson Society, and Madison House. While in graduate school, he taught not only at BU but also at Boston College, Framingham State University (then Framingham State College), the University of Massachusetts Lowell (then the University of Lowell), and Northeastern University. After undertaking a unique internship in
clinical child advocacy at the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center and the Massachusetts Office for Children (the foundation for one of his first books: Child Advocacy: Psychological Issues and Interventions), he directed adolescent services at Dorchester Mental Health Center. In that capacity, he oversaw two therapeutic day schools and a school consultation service that followed secondary school students from the area across the city in the 1970s during the difficult days of courtordered busing to end de facto segregation of Boston Public Schools.