Deborah Gorman-Smith, Ph.D., is the Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor and Deputy Dean for Research and Faculty Development at the University of Chicago School of Social service Administration (SSA). She is also the Principal Investigator and Director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, one of 6 National Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The Center, based at SSA, is devoted to studying and stemming the underlying causes of youth violence through evidence-based, collaborative interventions that focus on families and communities, linking them with schools, the justice system, social service agencies and policy makers. Gorman-Smith is currently or has been Principal or co-Principal investigator on several longitudinal risk and prevention studies funded by NICHD, NIMH, NIDA, SAMHSA and the William T. Grant Foundation. She is immediate Past-President for the Society for Prevention Research and serves on a number of national and international boards and committees including the Board of Scientific Counselors of the Injury Prevention Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Professor Gorman-Smith has published extensively in areas related to youth violence, including the developmental impact of exposure to violence, the relationship between neighborhood characteristics, family functioning and aggression and violence and the effects of family-focused, school-based and community-level preventive interventions.

Franklin Cosey-Gay, M.P.H., is the Project Director for the CCYVP. Mr. Cosey-Gay’s work has primarily examined prevention efforts through a social ecological model, which seeks to identify risk and protective factors at the individual, relational, community and societal levels. His main asset is his ability to translate academic and scientific prevention strategies to families with the most need for prevention and intervention efforts. He has worked directly in many of Chicago’s most economically and structurally challenged communities. His work has included engaging schools for participation in violence prevention programs through establishing relationships with Chicago Public School administrators, including principals, teachers, school social workers, counselors and most importantly thousands of families over the past twenty years. Mr. Cosey-Gay's current work with CCYVP is aimed at supporting Bright Star Community Outreach with the evaluation of the Communities That Care (CTC) a community-level prevention planning system in the Bronzeville community.

Rachel Garthe, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at the CCYVP. Garthe’s research focuses on the individual, relational and contextual factors associated with youth violence and adolescent dating violence, using advanced statistical methodologies. She has worked on numerous federally funded grants, including two of CDC’s Centers for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, as well as grants funded by NIJ, IES and the John Templeton Foundation. Her work has included engaging schools, youth, and community agencies for participation in violence prevention programs, and conducting program outcome evaluations. Garthe is a lecturer at SSA and teaches Social Intervention: Research and Evaluation. She has published in areas related to youth violence, dating violence, and adolescent social and emotional development. She holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Emalee Pearson, M.P.H./M.S.W., is a Research and Implementation Associate with CCYVP. Pearson’s primary interest is youth violence prevention, particularly in addressing the underlying causes of youth violence through a public health framework. Before joining CCYVP, Pearson was the program director for Urban Warriors, a program part of the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative. Pearson’s prior experience also includes work as a research assistant at Cure Violence where she provided technical assistance to national Cure Violence sites. Pearson has also worked on a study funded by the National Institute of Justice focused on victimization experiences of young, Black men. Her current work with CCYVP is aimed at supporting Bright Star Community Outreach with the evaluation of the Communities That Care (CTC) a community-level prevention planning system in the Bronzeville community. Pearson holds M.P.H. and M.S.W. degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Jane Addams College of Social Work.  

Michael Schoeny, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at the CCYVP and an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at Rush University. Schoeny is an expert in clinical research methodology and statistical analysis. He completed a Ph.D. in child-clinical psychology at DePaul University in 2000, where he received extensive training in research design, program evaluation, and statistical analyses. Over the past 15 years, Schoeny has been a co-investigator on numerous funded research grants totaling over $20,000,000.  In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Chicago and the University of Virginia, Schoeny’s research focuses on interventions designed to reduce aggression and prevent violence. Within the College of Nursing, Schoeny collaborates with researchers studying physical activity, father involvement, parenting, provision of human milk, and a problem-solving intervention for individuals with intellectual disabilities living in group homes.

Current Doctoral Students

Kathryn Bocanegra, A.M., M.A., L.C.S.W., is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Kathryn’s fields of interest include community violence prevention, traumatic loss and complex trauma, sentencing policy and criminal justice reform. Kathryn has been appointed to several criminal justice reform initiatives including the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council and the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.  Kathryn has experience providing clinical supervision to masters-level social workers and has led various community-based public safety initiatives. Kathryn’s experience also includes consulting for national policy initiatives focused on local strategies for decarceration such as the Alliance for Safety and Justice. 

Sireen Irsheid, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., is a first year doctoral student at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Sireen’s research interests include the examination of contextual factors including exposure to community violence and neurobiology that define unique trajectories of trauma symptoms. She is particularly interested in improving school outcomes and overall success of youth who have exposure to stress and trauma within communities of poverty. Sireen has experience developing  a new trauma measurement for young men who reside in communities impacted by violence and poverty at McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy and Research at New York University, collaborating with the Washington, D.C. Department of Education to evaluate a Restorative Practice Project in 20 D.C. public schools and work on a 5-year longitudinal Stress and Coping Project at DePaul University, where she examined protective factors and stressful life experiences in the lives of low-income, urban youth. Sireen has also worked at the Institute for Juvenile Research Center at University of Illinois at Chicago. Sireen’s clinical experience includes work at National Runaway Switchboard, Rape Victim Advocates, Forestdale Foster Care Inc., New York Presbyterian Hospital at Weill Cornell, and The Harlem Children’s Zone.  In addition to certifications in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Sireen holds a Master of Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from DePaul University.

Karlyn Gorski, A.M., is a second year Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the University of Chicago Department of Sociology. Her research focuses on school-based interventions aimed at promoting adolescents’ social and academic development. She uses mixed methodologies to investigate programs serving Chicago Public Schools students. Karlyn is passionate about research that allows her to engage directly with students and practitioners including principals, teachers, and parents. Karlyn’s previous experience includes teaching in Chicago and Pune, India. She has a Bachelor’s in public policy studies from the University of Chicago, where she received honors for her thesis about refugee students in Chicago Public Schools.

Marion Malcome, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., is a second year doctoral student at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.  Marion’s research focuses on the intersection of neighborhoods, race and mental health. She is specifically interested in understanding the impact of neighborhoods on mental health, and reducing mental health disparities for African-American parents in high-burdened communities who have been exposed to violence and/or have been impacted by the criminal justice system.  Marion has over ten years of clinical mental health experience ranging from hospital and psychiatric inpatient settings to community mental health settings throughout the city of Chicago.  Marion has experience providing clinical supervision to masters-level social workers, and has developed and facilitated several trainings on anti-racist social work practice for clinicians and social service agencies. Marion is passionate about mental health equity for communities of color and sees this work as an issue of social justice.  

Sadiq Patel, M.S.W., is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and an M.S. student in Biostatistics at the University of Chicago. Sadiq’s research interests include youth violence prevention, statistical methods, and spatial analysis. He received his Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois. Sadiq’s previous experience includes providing clinical services at American Indian Health & Family Services, teaching in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools through Teach for America, and management consulting at Accenture.