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.

Pajarita Charles, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist with the CCYVP. Charles’ primary interest is in preventive intervention research that promotes positive outcomes among children whose families are affected by the criminal justice system. Her current research, supported by an NICHD K99/R00 grant, focuses on the intersection of father involvement, incarceration and reentry, and child and family well-being. Her work includes both basic research and the development and testing of interventions designed to improve the outcomes of children whose fathers have been incarcerated. Charles is a lecturer at SSA and teaches Evaluation of Social Welfare Policies and Programs. Her research has appeared in journals such as: Research on Social Work Practice, Social Work Research, Journal of Family Issues, and Journal of Family Violence. She holds M.S.W. and M.P.A. degrees from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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.