GSE news brief artwork.
Steve Harvey accepts award (center). Keith A. Alford, PhD (left) and Catherine Dulmus, PhD (right).

Steven Harvey, PhD ’97, (center) accepts Excellence in Research Community Level Award alongside UB School of Social Work Dean Keith A. Alford, PhD, and Catherine Dulmus, PhD, professor, associate dean for research and director of the Buffalo Center for Social Research in UB’s School of Social Work. Photo: Onion Studio

Published December 12, 2023


GSE alumnus recognized for disruptive innovation in behavioral health research

Integrity Partners for Behavioral Health IPA (IPBH), an organization spearheaded by University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education alumnus Steven Harvey, PhD ’97, was recently honored with the 2023 Excellence in Research Community Level Award from UB’s School of Social Work.

Awarded in April, this honor recognizes IPBH’s visionary approach to mental healthcare, emphasizing their collaboration with the UB School of Social Work’s Buffalo Center for Social Research, UB’s Department of Biostatistics and Washington University.

Together, the interdisciplinary team has developed a cutting-edge data warehouse—the Behavioral Health Data Analytics Collaborative—which comprises the electronic health records of 50,000 individuals receiving mental health and substance abuse services across 14 rural counties in New York State.

By harnessing the power of this data, IPBH aims to characterize substance use and mental health services along with additional health data and variables that expose paths toward health behavior success. In addition, the organization seeks to examine the effectiveness of these services as measured by treatment outcomes and the need for subsequent additional services, allowing for the development of profiles and predictors of treatment success relative to treatment costs.

Steven Harvey, PhD.

Steven Harvey, PhD

 “We can analyze things that no one else can analyze,” said Harvey.

As chief executive officer of IPBH, Harvey oversees the organization’s efforts to collaborate with its 22 partners to improve behavioral health outcomes through high-level data analytics, clinical integration, strategic programs, sharing of expertise and leveraging limited resources.

“The Behavioral Health Data Analytics Collaborative is a one-of-a-kind data warehouse,” Harvey said. “I’m really excited about what that’s going to mean for Behavioral Health because, up to this point, they’ve only looked at process data as the goal, and this is going to change everything.”

He hails this achievement as a testament to his education in GSE’s social foundations PhD program (now the educational culture, policy and society PhD program).

In particular, Harvey credits much of his success to SUNY Distinguished Professor Lois Weis.

“Lois taught me how to think. She really did. I would give most of that credit to Lois,” he said. “She was the most important mentor in my entire life.”

According to Weis, Harvey was one of the most thoughtful PhD students with whom she worked. “Not only is Steve able to trenchantly analyze complex qualitative databases, but he deconstructs what is often taken for granted in human behavior. His dissertation on masculinity and sports is a key example of this, wherein he was way ahead of the pack in understanding the importance of this [critical issue],” she said.

“His work remains one of the most important dissertations that has been produced under my direction, as he unpacks the negative aspects of what we have come to call ‘toxic masculinity’ while simultaneously celebrating all those positive aspects linked to participation in a wide range of sports, particularly, in this case, for men,” Weis continued. “It does not surprise me a bit that he has continued to hone his analytic skills, re-deploying them to another critical arena.”

As a CEO, professor, researcher, and founder and owner of MyCollegeMax, a consulting company designed to help high school students prepare for college, Harvey hopes that his career trajectory offers an example to others who wish to pursue doctoral degrees but might want to explore careers outside of academia.

“Who would have thought that someone from education would end up running a behavioral health care company and doing things that are catching the attention of people across the country? I’ve taken something from one sector that is commonplace and brought it to a sector that it’s not. This is due to my education at the Graduate School of Education, where we were taught to think critically and innovate,” Harvey said.

“My mission is to make life better for people who otherwise, without assistance, will never reach it.”

Tuesday News Briefs feature the stories of the Graduate School of Education faculty, students and alumni who are engaged in their communities and making an impact through their hard work, dedication and research initiatives. If you have a story to share, please email us with the details for consideration as a future news feature.