PROGRESS on Gun Violence
Initiative to Offer Research, Solutions to National Crisis
By Sala Levin ’10
Photo by John T. Consoli
In Baltimore, the number of young people who were shot last year was up fourfold in a decade. Homicides in Washington, D.C., spiked 33% last year. In 2023, the nation endured nearly 650 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Those chilling statistics underscore the urgency of a new UMD initiative: PROGRESS (Prevent Gun Violence: Research, Empowerment, Strategies and Solutions) will study gun violence, offer educational programs on gun safety and issue policy recommendations.
The enterprise is led by Joseph Richardson Jr., the MPower professor of African American studies, medical anthropology and epidemiology, and Woodie Kessel, a pediatrician and professor of the practice of family science. Partners across campus and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore will contribute.
“Gun violence is a disease for which we know, ultimately, we will have a cure,” says Richardson.
The project will address suicide, domestic violence, safe gun storage, gun trafficking and other issues related to firearms. The team will collect and analyze data, offer a speaker series and engage community members to create solutions for gun violence.
Kessel noted that violence affects more people than just those killed or injured: “You can feel the pain in a community when violence is there and shouldn’t be.”
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