Multimillion-dollar grant from CDC to fund new KU center to reduce youth violence in Kansas City

Thanks to a new federal grant, the University of Kansas is creating a new center to prevent youth violence in Kansas City.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide $1.2 million a year through 2026 to fund the new center. The center will be led by Jomella Watson-Thompson, an associate professor in applied behavioral science.

The new center will serve multiple communities in the Kansas City metro area. The center particularly will look for solutions and programs to address firearm-related hospital admission and youth homicides.

The CDC is funding the program because it believes looking at violence through a public health lens, rather than simply a crime and justice lens, can help reduce early deaths and improve the overall health of a community.

“Trauma should be approached with a public health mentality,” Dr. Robert Winfield, director of trauma research at the KU School of Medicine and collaborator in the new center, said in a press release. “We need to look at it from the standpoint of disease and disease prevention. When we think about trauma, over half of trauma deaths occur at the scene so those patients never have an opportunity to make it to a trauma center. Prevention is key.”

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