Peace Team

Daniel Schober (fourth from left) and Kids Off the Block founder Diane Latiker (second from left) worked with Chicago Gun Violence Research Collaborative fellows to dialogue with youth in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood.

Daniel Schober (fourth from left) and Kids Off the Block founder Diane Latiker (second from left) worked with Chicago Gun Violence Research Collaborative fellows to dialogue with youth in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Schober)

Daniel Schober and Chicago-area graduate students collaborate with community partners to understand and reduce gun violence

By Kate Silver

Gun violence is one of Chicago’s most pressing problems. And it’s something that researchers at DePaul University, along with other area institutions, are working to understand and change through the Chicago Gun Violence Research Collaborative (CGVRC).

Daniel Schober, a DePaul assistant professor of public health, served as director of the CGVRC from 2020 to 2022. The collaborative, which addresses gun violence through a public health lens, also includes Sinai Urban Health Institute, Rush University, Adler University, Loyola University Chicago and University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

Schober says he’s proud to work at a university that immerses itself in seeking solutions to urban challenges. DePaul and the other members are directly working with historically underserved communities. “We’re not ivory tower institutions,” he says.

In Schober’s time as director, he says he’s most proud of the graduate student fellowship program, a 15-week program that brings together graduate student fellows and faculty fellows in participating institutions to conduct community-based research related to gun violence.

Students take what he calls a research activism approach, using research to stimulate community action and create lasting change.

“You try to create deep systemic change on the issues that caused the problem in the first place, hopefully preventing violence before it occurs.”
–Daniel Schober

Last year, the graduate students worked with young people ages 14 to 24 from Kids Off the Block, a youth-serving organization in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood, to better understand the causes of gun violence and to partner for change.

Myles Castro (LAS MPH ’18), a program manager at Sinai Urban Health Institute, participated in the collaborative’s work as a DePaul graduate student fellow in 2017 and as a faculty fellow in 2022. His main takeaway: It’s critical to include young voices and voices of color in discussions and solutions.

“In terms of homicides due to gun violence, communities of color, particularly young people, are disproportionately impacted,” Castro says. “Without including them in the conversation, we really can’t get a true sense of how to prevent this issue.”

Schober says the ultimate goal of the fellowship is for students to integrate what they’ve learned into their future careers, paving the way for lasting change.

For Schober, those changes bring hope. Historically, gun violence has been addressed through the lens of criminology and criminal justice. But gun violence is a multidisciplinary problem that demands a public health approach, steeped in data but also action, he says.

“You try to create deep systemic change on the issues that caused the problem in the first place, hopefully preventing violence before it occurs,” Schober says. “That’s what we try to impart on students.”

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