Dr. Howard R. Davis, 61, a psychologist who was associate director of knowledge transfer in the Office of State and Community Liaison of the National Institute of Mental Health, was killed Jan. 26 when the car he was driving was struck by a train at a grade crossing in Gaithersburg.

A spokesman for the Montgomery County police said Dr. Davis was driving on Metropolitan Grove when the accident happened. His car was hit by a Baltimore & Ohio utility train.

Dr. Davis, who lived in Bethesda, was born in Sarahsville, Ohio. He served in the Army Air Forces in World War II. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. He then went to the University of Denver, where he took a master's degree in social work and a doctorate in experimental and clinical psychology.

Dr. Davis worked in the Minnesota mental health and state hospital system, where he specialized in what is now called the "deinstitutionalization" of the care of mental patients. This is designed to provide better and more humane treatment for patients and became one of the principal concerns of Dr. Davis in the course of his career. He continued this work when he moved to the Washington area in 1963 and joined NIMH.

As associate director for knowledge transfer, he helped make new treatments for mental illness available to physicians and others across the country.

Dr. Davis was a member of the American Psychological Association and the Evaluation Research Society. He also was a member of Christ Lutheran Church.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy, of Bethesda; two daughters, Mary Lou Sacks of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Janey Davis Zimmerman of Taipei, Taiwan; a brother, John Paul Davis of Savannah, Ga.; two sisters, Hope Grier and Mae Nonnamaker, both of Lakeland, Fla., and three grandchildren.