Dr. Howard Stevenson is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, in the Human Development & Quantitative Methods Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Stevenson is Executive Director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC), a research, program development, and training center that brings together community leaders, researchers, authority figures, families, and youth to study and promote racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods. He is also the Director of Forward Promise, a national program office funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to provide philanthropic support for organizations designed to improve the health of boys and young men of color and their families and to help them heal from the trauma of historical and present-day dehumanization, discrimination, and colonization. Since 1985, Dr. Stevenson has served as a clinical and consulting psychologist working in impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods across the country.
Howard C. Stevenson
Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education; Professor of Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Research Interests and Current Projects
Dr. Stevenson is a nationally recognized clinical psychologist and researcher on negotiating racial conflicts using racial literacy for independent and public K–12 schooling, community mental health centers, teachers, police, and parents. His research publications and clinical work involve developing culturally relevant "in-the-moment" strengths-based measures and therapeutic interventions that teach emotional and racial literacy skills to families and youth and have been funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, and the National Institutes of Mental Health and Child Health and Human Development.
Two mental health research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health examine the benefits of racial literacy. The PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) project uses basketball and racial socialization to help youth and parents cope with stress from violence and social rejection. Dr. Stevenson also co-leads the SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers project which trains Black barbers as health educators to teach Black males ages 18–24—while they are cutting their hair—to reduce their risk of HIV/STDs and retaliation violence.
In 2014, Dr. Stevenson was one of 10 men in Philadelphia awarded $10,000 by BMe Community Leader Awards, to support his ViRUs project (Villages Raising Us), which trained a neighborhood network, including barbers, coaches, and pastors, to counsel families and youth using cultural strengths.
From 1994 to 2002, Dr. Stevenson was faculty master of the W. E. B. DuBois College House at Penn. In 1993, he received the W. T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholar Award, a national research award—given to only five researchers per year—which funds five years of research. In 1994, Dr. Stevenson was a Presidential Fellow at the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, where 35 other community activists and researchers from 30 countries presented their community health intervention projects. In 1995, Dr. Stevenson served on a 12-member academic panel to consult on the development of a National Strategic Action Plan for African-American Males, sponsored by the National Drug Control Policy Office in the Office of the President.
His recent best-seller book, Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference, is designed to reduce racial threat reactions in face-to-face encounters.
Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) Fuller Graduate School of Psychology , 1985.
B.A. (Psychology and Sociology) Eastern College, 1980.
Areas of Expertise
Effects of at-risk neighborhoods on youth
Family and parental engagement
Racial/ethnic socialization and negotiation
Sports and psychotherapy (boys and girls)
Community Leadership Development