UNC Receives CDC Grant for Sexual Violence Study

Congressman David Price announced Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will award a grant of over $1.79 million to the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center. The grant will be dispersed over four years, and will be used specifically to study the impact of the “Wise Guys: The Next Level” rape prevention education (RPE) program.

The Wise Guys: The Next Level program was designed by the Children’s Home Society. Its purpose is to educate young men and boys in Guilford County about relationship violence and sexual assault prevention. The CDC-funded study will help determine the best practices for expanding similar RPE programs throughout North Carolina.

Price said in a release, “I am thrilled that UNC has received this funding, which will help ensure that North Carolina remains at the forefront of preventing sexual and intimate partner violence. The UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and Children’s Home Society are doing vitally important work to support a culture of respectful relationships.”

“Sexual violence is a highly prevalent and deeply significant social and public health problem,” said co-principal investigator for the evaluation, Dr. Kathryn E. (Beth) Moracco, a faculty member in the department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Despite the magnitude and severity of sexual violence, little is known about how best to prevent sexual violence perpetration. This critical gap in the sexual violence prevention evidence limits our ability to implement comprehensive programs to prevent and reduce sexual violence perpetration.”

“Working through state health departments, such as Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC has provided financial support for many Rape Prevention Education (RPE ) programs like ‘Wise Guys: The Next Level,” said co-principal investigator for the evaluation, Dr. Rebecca Macy with UNC’s School of Social Work. “However, the effectiveness of most of these community-based rape prevention programs remains largely unknown since there have been very few randomized trials like this study. This study will add to practice-based evidence on strategies for sexual violence prevention.”

The study will be conducted by faculty at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health and UNC School of Social Work.


UNC Announces New Dean for School of Social Work

UNC has announced the selection of Gary L. Bowen as the new dean for the School of Social Work.

Bowen, who is currently Kenan Distinguished Professor in the School, will begin his new position on September first.

“Gary Bowen is a longtime faculty member, who along with former Dean John B. Turner, worked to develop the school’s doctoral program from 1988-92. Over the years, that program has grown and is now one of the reasons the school is nationally recognized and consistently earns a top ranking in U.S. News and World Report,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James W. Dean Jr.

“Chancellor Carol L. Folt and I are confident that under his leadership, the school will continue to develop innovative research that enhances social work practice and education.”

Currently, Bowen co-directs the School Success Profile project at Carolina, an assessment tool used to determine the strength of connections middle and high school students have with neighbors, their school, families and peer groups and determines services and support needed to increase the probability of the students’ success at school.

More than 100,000 students in nearly 1,500 schools around the nation have used the assessment tool. It has been translated into five languages for use in other countries.

Previously, Bowen worked with all branches of the United States military on many different mental health and social services issues and consults regularly with military policymakers, researchers and practitioners.

“I am honored to serve the school, and I find inspiration from the three leaders whose names are on the building, John A. Tate Jr., John B. Turner and Charles Kuralt,” said Bowen.

“I am confident that we can continue to find solutions to the challenges of poverty, mental illness, violence and substance abuse and prepare social workers to make a difference, not only in our state but around the nation and the world.”

In 2016, Bowen received three awards in the School of Social Work: an Excellence in Doctoral Student Mentoring Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Dean’s Recognition Award for Outstanding Leadership, Impact and Contribution to the Mission of Teaching, Research and Service.

Bowen is a Fellow in the National Council on Family Relations, a Fellow in the Society for Social Work and Research and he was listed as one of 40 “high impact” social work scholars in a recent study published in the journal Research on Social Work Practice.

Bowen received a doctorate in family relations and child development from the School of Human Environmental Sciences at UNC-Greensboro, a master’s degree in social work from UNC and a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and social work from UNC-Greensboro.

Bowen will succeed Dr. Jack Richman, who has served as dean for 14 years.


UNC Hosting Forum To Reduce Violence

CHAPEL HILL – In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the UNC campus and community are coming together with a goal to reduce violence.

“Our schools are pretty safe places but we have a steady flow of these mass-casualty events,” said UNC Professor Stephen Marshall.

Marshall is the director of the Injury Prevention Research Center at UNC.

He wants the community to check-out the forum that’s being held on Wednesday at the Tate-Turner Kuralt Auditorium on UNC’s campus at noon. It’s a discussion that’s open to the public.

“We want to bring all of those people together to have a forum or public conversation on how we can keep our schools safe,” Marshall explains. “It’s also about keeping society safe in respect to how we resolve our conflicts with one another.”

Panelists include UNC Professors, leaders from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools, and the executive director of SAVE or Students Against Violence Everywhere.

“People should come prepared to discuss and engage but they should also come prepared to listen,” Marshall said.

The UNC School of Social work is hosting the event. You can also attend the reception at 11:30 a.m., and a portion of the discussion will be open-mic to the public.

Marshall says the best parking option is the Dogwood visitors deck near the UNC Hospitals, which is about a ten-minute walk from the event.