Violence Prevention Scholarship Begins at Tulane

The Pincus Family Foundation recently partnered with Tulane University to create a new interdisciplinary program: the Pincus Family Foundation Violence Prevention Scholarship. Tulane released the statement July 17th, 2019. The Foundation awarded Tulane University with $550,000 to establish this new, two-year graduate training program intended to train future leaders in community-focused violence prevention in New Orleans, with an emphasis on Central City. Beginning this summer, organizers will be designing the program elements and coordinating with up to 10 community partner organizations focused on child wellbeing and violence related issues. The first group of six scholars to participate in the program will begin their training in Fall 2020. Second-year students of the program will work directly with the community organizations involved in violence prevention work.

The Pincus Family Foundation was formed by Philadelphia philanthropists David and Gerry Pincus in 2005. These founders dedicated themselves to learning about the challenges faced by children worldwide and helping to address those challenges. The Foundation supports organizations and initiatives that promote children’s health, education, nutrition, recreation, safety, and the arts locally and globally. The daughter of the foundation’s founders David and Gerry Pincus graduated from Tulane’s Newcomb College in 1990. Now a Pincus Family Foundation Trustee, Leslie Pincus-Elliot explained why she and the Foundation chose to initiate this program at Tulane. “A year ago, I read ‘The 28,’ an article from The Children of Central City, a series in The Times Picayuneabout the devastating effect chronic exposure to violence has on children. Having spent four years living in New Orleans as a student of Tulane University, I felt compelled to find a way to give back to the city that had given so much to me.” Pincus-Elliot continued, “The Pincus Family Foundation is thrilled to be in partnership with Tulane’s VIolence Prevention Institute. It is our hope that the creation of this interdisciplinary program will develop tools to stem, reduce and one-day eliminate violence in communities throughout New Orleans and others like it.”

The program will be spearheaded by faculty from the Tulane Violence Prevention Institute (VPI) and its network of community partners to provide students with a two-year graduate training program. To remain consistent with the diverse representation of faculty in the VPI, the Pincus Family Foundation Violence Prevention Scholarship will integrate faculty from all schools at Tulane, notably the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the School of Medicine, and the School of Social Work. It will be based within the Master’s in Public Health program.

Scholars in the new program will focus on building skills to collaborate with community organizations and co-develop programs designed to alleviate the effects of violence and in doing so, intercepting intergenerational transmission of violence and its health impacts. The training initiative will focus on the lives of children throughout the entirety of New Orleans, with an emphasis on Central City and areas where children are most affected by violence.

“The health of children, particularly those growing up in neighborhoods plagued by violence, is rooted not only in their individual-level experiences but also in those of their families and communities,” said Dr. Stacy Drury, Remigio Gonzalez MD Endowed Professor of Child Psychiatry. “The impact of negative experiences differs based on the developmental window in which the exposure occurs, such that younger children may be particularly vulnerable to the impact of violence. With this perspective in mind, our program will target a range of violence prevention efforts that originate through partnerships with community organizations focused on preventing violence across the lifespan.”

“The goal of the scholarship program is to provide enhanced training in the core skills needed for effective academic-community partnerships that address the far-reaching impact of violence on children and their families. . . Exposure to violence, both within the home and in the community, leaves biological, behavioral, cognitive and socio-emotional scars that alter the life course trajectory and health of youth within and across generations,” elaborated the VPI director and professor of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Catherine Taylor. She continued to say, “We want our scholars to graduate feeling prepared to collaborate with communities and existing organizations to promote child well-being in a way that centers around each community’s unique needs and is rooted in cultural humility, evidence-based practice, sustainability and rigorous evaluations.”

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