The public is invited to a free, online presentation of programs on May 12 hosted by the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center

The New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center (GVRC) at Rutgers hosts a free virtual event on May 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Attendees will hear from GVRC leadership, grant awardees and community leaders as they present evidence-based, equitable policies and programs that will prevent gun violence in our communities. Organizers of the conference aren’t looking to engage with simply an academic audience: They’d like this to be a community-engaged event with community members – including those involved in violence interruption work, policymakers, journalists, students, educators and the military. 

Michael Anestis, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health and executive director of the GVRC – one of a few such state-funded centers in the nation – talks about why it's important to register and join the conversation behind gun violence research.

What is the objective of the GVRC Research Day?
GVRC Research Day is a chance to learn about cutting-edge research on gun violence prevention. This year, we funded over 30 different projects, and members of each of those teams will be presenting on their work.

Members of the GVRC will be presenting on our own research, and we’re privileged to have keynote addresses in the morning from two national experts on gun violence prevention: Rajeev Ramchand of RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute and Sonali Rajan, Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University, a school violence prevention expert who studies gun violence and adverse childhood experiences.

The event will focus on topics such as community violence, suicide prevention and mass shootings. We will present work that touches on our audience’s interests. Our hope is that this event will be of interest to anyone impacted by or interested in gun violence prevention.

What will attendees gain from attending the virtual conference
Attendees will have a chance to learn about emerging tools to prevent all forms of gun violence and can develop a better understanding of why gun violence happens and which communities are most heavily impacted by it.

What are some of the GVRC-funded research projects?
We have funded projects that cover all forms of gun violence and consider the experiences and perspectives of diverse communities. For instance, we funded studies that will help us better understand firearm ownership, carrying practices and experiences of gun violence within Black communities, among women and among those who identify as LGBTQA+. 

We also funded studies that will help us better understand how to effectively develop and disseminate messages to promote firearm storage and studies that look at whether those impacted by public mass shootings receive the resources they need to help with their recoveries.

How has the GVRC research changed the conversation around gun violence?
The GVRC is an apolitical organization interested in letting data drive our approaches to understanding and preventing gun violence.

There is a long way to go on that front, but we believe that our approach to gun violence prevention research has helped engage stakeholders across the political spectrum and pushed us forward in areas like promoting secure firearm storage among military service members and developing effective collaborations between large research organizations like Rutgers and vital community groups like the Newark Community Street Team.

Who are you trying to reach during this conference?
We are trying to reach anyone impacted by or interested in gun violence and gun violence prevention.

That includes academics and policymakers and individuals doing the work of gun violence prevention in our cities, firearm owners interested in understanding how to limit risk while maintaining their identity and rights, community members dealing with the heavy weight of life after being impacted by gun violence and anyone else who feels drawn to this topic. 

This is not a traditional academic conference: We want as diverse an audience as possible so that the data we present can empower everyone to demand data-drive solutions to all forms of gun violence.