MEDIA ADVISORY: Gun Violence in New Haven is Focus of Unique Photo Exhibit

To raise awareness about gun violence in New Haven and to help bring an end to the problem, the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale School of Medicine and the New Haven Family Alliance, have teamed up to create a photo exhibit that illustrates how the issue affects youth in New Haven.

The exhibit will open on Wednesday, June 10 at 3 p.m. in the New Haven Public Library-Main Branch, 133 Elm St. followed by a reception. It will be on display for one week and will then tour the community libraries throughout the summer.

“With the help of our youth participants and our partnership with the New Haven Family Alliance, we have recorded compelling narratives describing how violence affects the lives of youth in New Haven,” said Luke Hansen, M.D., a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale.

Hansen and his colleagues used principles of the “photovoice method,” in which participants identify core issues relevant to the topic of interest—in this case, gun violence—take photographs that illustrate these issues, and reflect on the photos in focus groups.

The conversations the youth participants had with a research team that included physicians in the Clinical Scholars Program, New haven Family Alliance staff, and the Street Outreach Workers, helped Hansen and his co-researchers gain valuable insight into the young people’s struggles to find safe and healthy opportunities for success in their communities.

“Our work reinforces the evident need for interventions that increase opportunities for youth, not only in the context of violence reduction but also more broadly in terms of employment opportunities and positive relationships in their neighborhoods,” Hansen added.

Hansen said the state-of-the-art research methods he and his colleagues used have been effective in engaging populations that have traditionally been underrepresented in research. The team co-facilitated 14 focus groups of 14- to 19-year-old youth being mentored by the New Haven Family Alliance

“In the context of neighborhood environments in which youth feel personal safety is chronically at risk, we found that youth feel they have limited choices for the pursuit of healthy adolescent development,” said Hansen. “We also found that young people seek family structures, whether from traditional family at home or from alternative relationships outside the home, that satisfy the need for safety and belonging.”

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Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326