The American Academy of Health Behavior


Judy K. Black Early Career Research Award

This award commemorates the life and honors the memory of Judy K. Black. Judy was the wife of Purdue Professor Emeritus, Dr. David R. “Randy” Black, who served as one of four executive committee members to establish the Academy and was a past president (2005-2006). Judy died tragically in a traffic accident on January 31, 2003. Judy’s legacy was to foster the development and enhance the skills of others and to encourage them to maximize their full potential while making the world a better place to live. Maximizing potential meant to her to “mine” opportunities, to report new discoveries, to make major contributes to society, and to make the future brighter and more hopeful. The awardees listed in this document exemplify Judy’s legacy.

Judy also was an exemplar in how she led her life. She was a devoted wife, mother, and life partner. She was a mentor and confidant to graduate students who Randy supervised throughout his tenure at Purdue. She would talk with students on the phone, share her home, offer meals, and host social events so students could get to know her and each other. She provided insights about how to succeed in graduate school and life, and modeled the importance of maintaining balance while accomplishing a variety of personal and professional responsibilities. It was always clear that God and her family were her top priority.

This award of the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB) recognizes early-career health behavior research that is innovative and rigorous and that makes an important contribution to science or practice.

To date, nine outstanding scholars have received this prestigious award since its inaugural year in 2006.  To be eligible to receive the award, applicants must be:

  • An AAHB Affiliate or Full member in good standing for 2 years
  • In the early stage of their career (within 5 years of post-doctoral or other terminal degree)

To be selected for the award, applicants must first submit an abstract for presentation at the AAHB annual meeting and indicate their interest in being considered for the award. Their submitted abstract should clearly reflect data-based, meta-analytic, or theory development research related to health behavior. If these criteria are met, applicants are asked to submit an official application packet consisting of a:

  • A complete manuscript representing their submitted abstract
  • A research statement highlighting their research interests, career ambitions, and accomplishments
  •  A full curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of support

After a thorough and rigorous review of application packets by the AAHB Awards Council, an awardee is selected. 

  • The awardee is recognized at the annual conference and receives a waived registration fee and personalized plaque.  
  • The Judy K. Black Award Winner will provide a 15 minute presentation during the meeting.

A full history of the Judy K Black Award is available below.

Questions? Contact Dr. Matthew Lee Smith at health@uga.edu

Award Winners

2017 Winner

Samuel D. Towne Jr., PhD, MPH, CPH

2016 Winner:


Dr. Adam Knowlden

2015 Winner:



Dr. Ruopeng An

2014 Winner: 

Dr. Kaigang Li

2013 Winner:

Matthew Smith

2012 Winner:


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software