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Violence Prevention Research Program

Violence Prevention Research Program

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Program Overview

The Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) is an organized research program of the University of California, Davis. Founded more than 30 years ago, Garen J. Wintemute, M.D. M.P.H. serves as the founding director. Dr. Wintemute is a professor of emergency medicine, public health epidemiologist, and a world-renowned expert on the public health crisis of gun violence. He is also the first Susan P. Baker-Stephen P. Teret Char in Violence Prevention at UC Davis Health System.  

Susan P. Baker-Stephen Teret Chair in Violence Prevention. This endowed chair gives special recognition to the individual selected to serve as the director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and to honor the named individuals, health policy professors Susan P. Baker and Stephen Teret for their lifelong dedication to violence prevention and research and for serving as the national role model.

Violence is among America’s most important health problems, and firearm violence has been described by the Institute of Medicine as “a serious threat to the safety and welfare of the American public.” Over the last 10 years, the number of American civilians dying from gunshot wounds has exceeded American combat fatalities in World War II. Today, firearm violence kills nearly as many people each year as motor vehicle crashes do, and many more suffer serious physical or psychological injuries. Fear of violence alters the patterns of life in entire communities.

Social and economic disparities and other structural conditions play a critical role in determining risk for violence, as they do for other important health problems. Even in states with relatively robust firearms policy, rates of firearm violence remain unacceptably high. To change the trajectory, the focus of policy based violence prevention efforts must expand to include risk factors for firearm violence, such as alcohol and substance abuse.

Vice Chancellor's Chair in Violence Prevention. This endowed chair gives special recognition to the individual selected to serve as the inaugural associate director of the Violence Prevention Resarch Program, on the basis of excellence in research violence, injury, or a related field.

Our mission is to develop and disseminate the scientific evidence on which informed violence prevention policy and practice are based. While preserving our focus on firearm violence, we are expanding to address the social and economic disparities and other structural factors that give rise to all forms of violence and to many other important public health problems. In early summer 2015, an internationally-known social epidemiologist will join VPRP as Associate Director and Vice Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Violence Prevention.