University of Rochester

Psychologist's Research, Library Preserved as a Community Resource

February 8, 2002

A library that honors psychologist Emory L. Cowen and offers resources for families and specialists who promote wellness in children is open to the public at the Children's Institute in Rochester.

Cowen, the late professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Rochester, was a devoted teacher, researcher, and innovator. In 1957, he and his colleagues developed a model that helped young children who were having difficulties adjusting to school. The program, called the Primary Mental Health Project, received national recognition and is now in use in school districts around the world. It is renowned in journals of community and clinical psychology for its longevity and as a revolutionary step in mental health intervention.

"We are committed to maintaining, supporting, and growing the Emory L. Cowen Memorial Library so that it will be a true community resource," said Dirk Hightower, executive director of the Children's Institute Inc. The institute is a not-for-profit agency that promotes social and emotional well-being in children and is the successor to the research and initiatives developed by Cowen.

Most recently, from 1987 until his death in 2000 at the age of 74, Cowen studied and evaluated urban children through the Rochester Child Resilience Project to discover the forces that make children psychologically resilient. That and other prevention programs were developed at the Center for Community Study, which Cowen directed.

During his career, Cowen published extensively and received many awards, including the American Psychological Association's 1989 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest, the Seymour B. Sarason Award for Community Research and Action in 1995, and the John Romano Award from the Mental Health Association of Rochester/Monroe County in 1998.

Gifts from Charlotte and Leo Landhuis and other donors made the creation of the library possible. It is located at the offices of the Children's Institute, Village Gate Square, 274 N. Goodman St., Suite D103. Contributions for the library can be made to the institute's development office.