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New Grant Gives Temple University Unique Chance to Explore Causes of Gun Violence in Philadelphia Region

News January 10, 2023

Temple University is committed to helping combat gun violence in the Philadelphia region, and now, thanks to a new grant from Fund for a Safer Future, researchers at Temple have an unprecedented opportunity to connect with individuals in at-risk communities to learn more about urban gun violence in Philadelphia. By accessing people directly involved in gun violence, the researchers hope to gain new insight into factors that contribute to urban street violence.

“The study will be carried out using a participatory action research model, involving collaboration with outreach workers in at-risk communities,” explained Peter Simonsson, PhD, MSW, LCSW, Assistant Professor of Urban Health and Population Science at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, and lead investigator on the new grant. Temple is one of nine universities to have been awarded support from Fund for a Safer Future in 2023. The grant provides $210,000 in support over a span of three years.

“We are very grateful for the funding,” Dr. Simonsson said. “It will allow us to connect with people in local communities who regularly encounter street violence but typically avoid gun violence prevention and mental health programs, making them very difficult to reach.”

Gun violence in Philadelphia is the worst that it has ever been. By August alone, the city had already reported a higher number of shooting deaths in 2022 than many larger cities had seen, including New York and Los Angeles.

“The information collected through this effort will help strengthen public health interventions,” Dr. Simonsson added. The data ultimately could benefit public health actions that are aimed specifically at reducing injuries and deaths from gun violence.