Community Engagement & Research

Addressing Violence in the Community

Many of Temple’s faculty and staff study, raise awareness and work to prevent gun violence in Philadelphia. Temple University Hospital is the city’s first and most frequent responder to shootings. Our medical community is deeply connected to this issue and is dedicated to making an impact. The practitioners included below and their work have been featured nationally for their integral contributions to the field.

Task Force on Violence Reduction Strategies

The task force brought together representatives from our campuses, including students, parents, faculty, staff, neighbors and area businesspersons, to review the university’s existing violence reduction efforts and consider other innovative violence reduction initiatives. It is one of many efforts designed to help elevate Temple’s anti-violence research and programs and to devise new solutions to help address Philadelphia’s gun violence epidemic. The findings and recommendations as well as progress updates are available on Temple’s strategic planning website.

Connecting the dots between gun violence and drug markets: Nicole Johnson and Caterina Roman

A new paper by doctoral candidate Nicole Johnson and Professor Caterina Roman, both in the College of Liberal Arts’ Criminal Justice Department, seeks to offer some of the missing context behind Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis. The study, titled “Community correlates of change: A mixed-effects assessment of shooting dynamics during COVID-19,” shows that from March 2020 through June 2021, gun violence went up on average by 21.6% each two-month period, albeit slowing down considerably in 2021. The areas that saw increasingly more gun violence had something in common: they had high drug market activity.

Read the Temple Now story.

Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist

The news department, along with the Temple University Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting, created a podcast on stop and frisk that dives headlong into the conversation about how one particular policing method became a focal point for conversations around gun violence prevention in 2022.

Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist explores how a more visible and utilized stop and frisk police tactic might curb gun violence and improve public safety. Over a two-plus month reporting period, WHYY News Gun Violence Prevention Reporter Sammy Caiola and Logan Center Director Yvonne Latty talked to community members, public officials, experts, legal professionals, citizen advocates, and the police. They compiled their work into a five-episode podcast that considers how Philadelphia might apply a renewed stop and frisk — an underreported topic that requires deeper contemplation.

The lasting impact of trauma: Scott Charles

According to Temple University Hospital’s Scott Charles, addressing victim trauma can be pivotal in ending gun violence. As the hospital’s current trauma outreach manager, Charles is on the front lines of this national crisis. Recently, he was invited to speak to the Philadelphia business community about the multifactorial nature of gun violence and its impact on the region’s economic growth.

Read the Temple Now story.

Widening the media’s lens: Jessica Beard

For Jessica Beard, a trauma surgeon and public health researcher at Temple University Hospital, the media wasn’t telling the whole story about gun violence. She recently became a Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow and plans to study current gun violence reporting and partner with journalists to spread awareness about its root causes. She hopes that by deepening the epidemic’s narrative, she can increase support for vital public policy initiatives.

Read about the research: "Like I'm a nobody:” firearm-injured peoples' perspectives on news media reporting about firearm violence

Read the Philadelphia Magazine story: Why a Temple Trauma Surgeon Is Pushing Journalists to Change How They Cover Gun Violence

Preventing violence: Amy Goldberg

Temple University trauma surgeon, professor and chair of the Department of Surgery Amy Goldberg is known as a master trauma surgeon and widely recognized for her work in violence prevention. In 2005, she recruited Scott Charles to help her develop strategies to prevent gun violence. Their innovative approaches include counseling and social services, distribution of free gun locks, first-aid training, hospital-based education, and storytelling.

Goldberg and her team developed Temple Safety Net, a robust web presence to centralize information regarding their community resources. The website defines the team as well as their programs which include Cradle to Grave, Fighting Chance, Safe Bet and Victim Support. The site also provides opportunities to schedule a visit, view upcoming events, and read any news or articles relating to their work or about gun violence in general. 

Read about the first program they developed, Cradle to Grave, which is the only hospital-based violence prevention program of its kind.

Temple Community Resources

The Pennsylvania Innocence Project is housed within Temple’s Beasley School of Law and works to exonerate people wrongly convicted of crimes and to prevent innocent people from being convicted.

Philadelphia Safety and Violence Prevention Resources