Ph.D. student receives fellowship to research gun violence

Paris Thomas

Paris Thomas hopes her research will shine a light on how community violence impacts the health of African American men. Already, the doctoral student’s research plans have impacted NIU: Thomas became the first NIU student to be chosen for the Chicago Gun Violence Research Collaborative (CGVRC).

Thomas, a Ph.D. in Health Science student, was selected along with 10 other graduate fellows from Adler University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago, Loyola University, Northwestern University, from multiple disciplines including public health, health sciences, sociology, social work, and psychology.

The CGVRC Fellowship Program offers the six-month fellowships to highly talented and committed graduate students enrolled in graduate and professional programs within the city of Chicago. The collaborative launched in 2016 with the purpose of bringing hospitals, universities and researchers together to have an impact on gun violence. This fellowship program was created to support faculty and graduate students’ involvement in the development of a community-based research agenda.

Thomas said she sought the fellowship because it is rooted in interdisciplinary collaboration.

“Gun violence cannot be addressed by a community alone, it takes the collaboration of diverse disciplines to implement community-based solutions and programing,” Thomas said.

The Fellowship provides a $1,000 stipend for engaging with interdisciplinary teams of graduate fellows across Chicago universities in collaboration with community agencies within Chicago neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence.

“The CGVRC Fellowship Program is an excellent opportunity for Thomas to further refine her research skills while working to solve real health issues,” said Daniel Boutin, director of the Ph.D. in Health Sciences program. “The generous offer for her to join this interdisciplinary collaborative effort and investigate the impact of gun violence demonstrates how research at NIU supports not only Chicago but communities across the nation.”

Being a part of the collaborative will help her learn best practices for conducting research in sensitive areas where it is especially important to be respectful of families’ and victims’ privacy.

Thomas said her mixed-method study will look at qualitative data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to conduct a 10-city comparison in health trends in African American men, as well as interviews with community members on Chicago’s south side. She selected this topic because she discovered a gap in research on violence which typically focuses on the impact on children and mothers and not men’s health.

“So many studies are aimed at school based community solutions. But we have to realize that interventions at home are also imperative. African American men are so special to African American communities. We have to have interventions for them as well. I hope to contribute to the community violence research field with my own studies,” said Thomas.

While pursuing her Ph.D., Thomas continues her work as the director of program operations for Equal Hope at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.

“The CGVRC Fellowship Program is an excellent opportunity for Thomas to further refine her research skills while working to solve real health issues,” said Daniel Boutin, director of the Ph.D. in Health Sciences program. “The generous offer for her to join this interdisciplinary collaborative effort and investigate the impact of gun violence demonstrates how research at NIU supports not only Chicago but communities across the nation.”

 

 

The post Ph.D. student receives fellowship to research gun violence appeared first on NIU Today.

Source: NIU Today CHHS News

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