About the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development

The Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development is a university-level research center at Georgia State University committed to promoting the health, safety and well-being of children, adults and families through research, service, education, training and advocacy. The center emphasizes bringing scientific innovation into the everyday lives of people and their communities through translational and implementation research.


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John R. Lutzker

John LutzkerFounding Director

The Director of the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development, Professor of Public Health, and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Georgia State University, John Lutzker is a leading expert in child neglect and maltreatment prevention.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in Developmental and Child Psychology and has worked in a variety of settings including academia (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, University of California, Irvine, Emory University), and the federal government (CDC as Distinguished Consultant and Chief, Prevention, Development and Evaluation Branch). Lutzker has had over 170 published articles, given over 450 presentations nationally and internationally, written 7 books, and given interviews for NPR, ABC’s Good Morning America, and served as a consultant for 60 Minutes.

Lutzker is responsible for developing one of the few evidence-based child maltreatment and neglect prevention programs, SafeCare, which is being implemented throughout the United and other countries internationally. The center’s mission is to promote the health, safety, well-being, and quality of life of children, adults, and families with and without disabilities through research, service, and advocacy.

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Promoting the health, safety, well-being, and contributions of children, adults, and families through research, service, education, training, and advocacy. 


The Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development is home to:
  • The Center for Leadership in Disability, translating research into sustainable community practices that contribute to independent, self-determined, inclusive and productive lives for people with disabilities and their families;
  • The National SafeCare Training and Research Center, implementing nationwide the SafeCare model, an evidence-based home visitation family support program that has been shown to reduce child maltreatment among families with a history for maltreatment or with risk factors for maltreatment; and
  • Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, focused on changing the way our nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.


We produce leaders in child maltreatment prevention and intellectual and developmental disabilities.


We have published over 460 peer reviewed articles and professional chapters, 11 books and eight manuals, and presented over 1380 papers, posters, and symposia at notable conferences.


We have already procured $34 million in research and other external funding, and brought scientific outcomes to community use.