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The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions receives $5 Million Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant to Advance Equitable Solutions to Reduce Gun Violence

The grant will conduct equity-centered policy analysis, evaluation research, and training opportunities to diversify the field of gun violence prevention researchers.


The Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has received a five-year, $5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to enhance efforts to measure public support for gun violence prevention policies and programs, conduct equity-centered policy analysis and evaluation research, and expand and diversify the field of gun violence prevention researchers. 

The grant is co-led by Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions and associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, and Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, distinguished research scholar and Bloomberg Professor of American Health.  

Gun violence accounted for over 48,830 deaths in the U.S. in 2021, the highest number of gun-related deaths ever recorded. In 2021, minoritized communities were particularly impacted. Compared with non-Hispanic white individuals, firearm homicide rates were 14 times higher among Black individuals, 3.6 times higher among American Indian/Native Alaskans, and three times higher among Latinx individuals. Research on gun violence prevention and programs have the potential to save thousands of lives, however, efforts continue to remain underfunded and under-supported relative to the enormous burden of gun violence in impacted communities.  

"Systemic inequities drive these disparities,” says Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, distinguished research scholar in the Center for Gun Violence Solutions and Bloomberg Professor of American Health. “This new grant will support research that examine connections between policies and inequities in gun violence, arrests, incarceration, and system responses," 

The new grant will help the Center collect and analyze data on shootings by police, assess the effects of key gun laws on arrests and incarceration for illegal gun possession and violent crimes committed with guns, and assess how structural racism and social vulnerability impact the effectiveness of gun policies, including permit to purchase laws. It will also support the Center’s National Survey on Gun Policy, a bi-annual, nationally representative survey of U.S. adults to measure support on firearm policy and public safety reforms. The survey waves for 2023, 2025, and 2027 will continue to estimate public support from people who are Black, Latino, and/or gun owners.  

The grant will also support the growth of diverse researchers in the field of gun violence, including pre- and post-doctoral fellowships as well as a new tenure-track faculty position. In addition to Drs. Crifasi and Webster, other faculty contributing to the research and mentoring of new researchers include Odis Johnson, PhD, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, Michelle Spencer, MS, associate director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative and director of equity and community partnerships at the Center for Gun Violence Solutions, Alex McCourt, assistant professor, and Mitchell Doucette, PhD, assistant scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management.   

“To deepen our understanding of what causes and prevents gun violence, we need collaborations between researchers and impacted communities, and we need more researchers with relevant lived experience,” says Crifasi. 

“This grant ensures considerations and inclusion for the driving factors that exacerbates inequities by race and ethnicity and centers the voices and experiences of those most impacted,” says Spencer. “This opportunity further allows for the development of inclusive policies to ultimately save lives.”