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NIH grants to help prevent gun violence

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced new grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Northwestern University and the University of Chicago for gun violence-prevention research at an Oct. 1 press conference held at the non-profit Heartland Alliance located in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. 

This funding is part of $25 million Durbin worked to include in the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill to support gun violence research at NIH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Judith Moskowitz, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, will receive $406,967 from the NIH to develop and test pilot the FOREST (Fostering Optimal Regulation of Emotion to prevent Secondary Trauma) program to help READI Chicago front-line staff maintain well-being and reduce burnout. READI Chicago is an innovative program designed to reduce gun violence by providing community-based outreach, psychosocial support and job-skills training to adults living in Chicago neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of unemployment, poverty and firearm injury and mortality.  

Andrew Papachristos, professor of sociology and faculty director of the Northwestern Neighborhood and Network Initiative (N3), also is a part of the grant, and spoke at the press conference. In addition to speaking to the need to support the well-being for the violence interrupters, he highlighted N3’s recent research that shows the success of new collaborative efforts, like Chicago CRED and Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), to reduce neighborhood violence.