Professor, School of Education and Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia
Patrick H. Tolan is Professor at the University of Virginia in the Curry School of
Education and in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences in the
School of Medicine. Prior to arriving at UVA he was Director of the Institute for
Juvenile Research, a multidisciplinary center focused on child mental health and mental
illness. He is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois.
He is director of the cross-university multidisciplinary center, Youth-Nex: The U.Va.
Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, a transdisciplinary nexus of research,
training, and application of science about the capabilities of young people in connection
to health, communities, schools, and relationships. Over the past 30 years he has conducted many research studies on youth development, programs to affect positive development and prevent problems, and to understand and affect youth development in context. He has conducted several large scale randomized trials focused on promoting and supporting healthy development in high-risk communities, including the 24-year longitudinal study of development of young men residing in inner-city Chicago, the Chicago Youth Development Study. His studies have provided insights and innovation in how families managed the challenges of under
resourced schools and unsafe neighborhoods, the complex determinants of violence, how
children and families can manage life stress, and neighborhoods affect risk for school
failure, delinquency, and mental health problems.
At present, he heads up the 7-year $11.75 million group randomized trial, the Compassionate
Schools Project, which tests a curriculum to bring “21st century health and wellness skills” to
elementary school children. This unique collaboration with the school system and city of
Louisville is testing a compassion-oriented curriculum for impact on SEL and personal care
skills. He is a one of the leaders of the Boys of Color Collaboration and contributed to the National Academy of Medicine regarding health equity as a civil rights issue. With colleagues at UVA he was recently awarded a grant to study how youth in middle school can help promote
learning and inclusion and potentially reduce racially based achievement disparities. He serves
on several advisory boards. Professor Tolan is a frequent contributor to the scientific literature. Recent contributions include chapters on humanizing developmental science in study of boys of color, comparison of major models of positive development, and the value of developmental science and legal research in advancing health justice. His latest book is, Gene-Environment Transactions in Developmental Psychopathology: The Role in Intervention Research, a volume in the Brain Research Foundation Symposium Series he edits. (Springer, 2017). He was the
2016 recipient of the Nicholas Hobbs Award from the Society for Child and Family
Practice and Policy (APA).