International Policy Center Home Page
Type: Public event
Host: Ford School

Policy-focused solutions to the firearm epidemic: What we know works


Rod Brunson, Sonali Rajan, Daniel Webster, April Zeoli

Date & time

Sep 22, 2022, 4:30-6:00 pm EDT


Weill Hall Annenberg Auditorium (Room 1120)
735 S. State St. Ann Arbor, MI

In the wake of repeated tragedies and the firearm violence that has plagued our nation, the University of Michigan community is grappling with what can be done. There is an urgent need to address the firearm injury epidemic in America, and its social, economic, and public health impacts. Join for a conversation around firearm violence, and policies that can help prevent it. Four leading experts in firearm violence will offer their insights, then come together for a panel conversation on the big picture policy implications of and potential solutions for firearm violence. 


  • Daniel Webster, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions
  • Sonali Rajan, Columbia University
  • Rod K. Brunson, University of Maryland
  • April Zeoli, University of Michigan
  • Moderated by: Luke Shaefer, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Ford School; Director, U-M Poverty Solutions

About the speakers

Rod K. Brunson is a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.  He is a widely sought-after speaker and has received numerous professional awards in recognition of his distinguished body of scholarly work, including, American Society of Criminology, Fellow (2019).  Furthermore, Dr. Brunson co-directs the Racial Democracy Crime and Justice Network, social scientists conducting research on crime, inequality, and the criminal justice system. Professor Brunson’s expertise centers on police-community relations, youth violence, and evidence-based criminal justice policy.  He has consistently called for effective crime reduction strategies that do not result in racially disparate treatment of minority citizens and disadvantaged neighborhoods.  Dr. Brunson’s scholarship appears in the Annual Review of Sociology, British Journal of Criminology, City & Community, Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, Evaluation Review, Justice Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, and Urban Health.

Sonali Rajan is an Associate Professor of Health Education in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Rajan is a school violence prevention researcher, studying gun violence, school safety, and adverse childhood experiences. She is co-leading research on school violence funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Rajan also co-produces Re(Search) for Solutions, a podcast hosted by the Media and Social Change Lab at Teachers College, devoted to amplifying creative and evidence-based solutions to the persistence of gun violence. Dr. Rajan’s work prioritizes the need for schools and communities to collectively attend to the well-being of children while keeping them safe, reducing their exposure to violence, and ensuring opportunities for them to thrive.

Dr. Daniel Webster is the Bloomberg professor of American Health in Violence Prevention, Director of the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Department of Health Policy and Management, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, prior Co-Director of the John Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence. He is one of the nation’s leading experts on the prevention of firearm violence and has published over 120 articles in scientific journals on topics including firearm policy, violence prevention, youth violence, intimate partner violence, suicide, and substance abuse.

Dr. April Zeoli conducts interdisciplinary research, with a goal of bringing together the fields of public health and criminology and criminal justice. Her main fields of investigation are the prevention of firearm violence, intimate partner violence, and homicide through the use of policy and law. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on policy interventions for firearm use in intimate partner violence. Broadly, Dr. Zeoli studies the role of firearms in intimate partner violence and homicide, as well as the civil and criminal justice systems responses to intimate partner violence. Her research focuses on legal firearm restrictions for domestic violence abusers and their impact on intimate partner homicide, the implementation of those firearm restrictions, and the criminal histories of intimate partner homicide offenders with a focus on missed intervention opportunities. Dr. Zeoli has recently expanded her research around firearm policies to include studying the extreme risk protection orders and, more generally, the impact of firearm policies on childhood firearm injuries and deaths. Dr. Zeoli is on the editorial board of the scholarly journal Injury Prevention and of the journal Criminology & Public Policy, and serves as the research expert for the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center. She has also served as an expert commentator on intimate partner homicide, guns, and domestic violence-related mass shootings for news organizations such as NPR, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and Newsweek.


Hosted by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in partnership with the U-M Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, with support from the U-M Center for Racial Justice and Poverty Solutions.