University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Seed Grant to Support ‘Cure Violence’

A Pitt-Johnstown faculty group was among the awardees of a Pitt Seed grant of $50,000 from the University of Pittsburgh.

The faculty group was among 23 successful applicants out of a total of 171 applicants. The project, titled “A Place for Pitt-Johnstown in the Cure Violence: Johnstown Campaign,” includes these details:

In response to the marked increase in gun deaths and drug overdoses in Johnstown, a community organization called Hope 4 Johnstown, representing more than a dozen community groups, police and schools, formed to bring Cure Violence to Johnstown.

Cure Violence is an evidence-based program that addresses violence as a public health crisis.

The seed project will conduct an initial assessment of Cure Violence for the city of Johnstown, research attitudes regarding violence and its connections to opioids, and assess community needs.

It also will develop educational programs for students in the Greater Johnstown School District and non-violence messaging with assistance from UPJ marketing faculty and undergraduates.

Christine Dahlin, PhD, and associate professor of biology, was the grant principal investigator (PI) on the application, which included:

  • Gerald Zahorchak, PhD, and chair of the Education Division:
  • Jill Henning, PhD, and associate professor of biology;
  • Stephanie Jimenez, PhD, and assistant professor of psychology;
  • Ross Kleinstuber, PhD, and associate professor of sociology; and
  • Jeremiah Coldsmith, PhD, and assistant professor of sociology.

Dr. Dahlin said she is thrilled to be among the first group of applicants ever to receive the award.

“The Seed grant is a really special opportunity. Our project, for example, is allowing us to partner with community members and fight gun violence from many directions," she said.

"Having Pitt-Johnstown, and the Pitt System as a whole become a partner on such an important community initiative is thrilling."

The projects, according to the University of Pittsburgh, are designed in a manner that “broadens the ways in which you can directly and actively contribute to Pitt’s strategic transformation,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in announcing the program.

Chosen with the aid of 125 faculty and staff members who reviewed the proposals, the first set of Pitt seed projects “are poised to help our faculty and staff members advance Pitt’s mission in new and meaningful ways,” the chancellor noted.

According to the University Times report, the application process was designed to elicit projects that furthered the goals of the University’s strategic plan, “The Plan for Pitt.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.