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Georgia State assembles departments to study violence

Georgia State debuted its new Center for Research on Interpersonal Violence this past July. The purpose? To bring together professors and researchers from the departments of psychology, public health and policy studies to connect and tackle issues of violent behaviour across the country.

While there is no physical location for the new center, it is able to function virtually, with the exception of meetings and seminars, and is the only opportunity for professors from these departments to collaborate.

Director, Dr. Dominic Parrot, wanted to make sure the center’s online presence was strong enough to make up for their lack of a physical one.

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“One thing I did was very early on was made sure we had a website because that’s kind of like we have a physical space on the web that keeps us organized in terms of what we’re doing,” Parrott said. “The goal is to get professors talking, thinking and coming up with new ideas, so it’s a way to stimulate collaboration.”

Georgia State graduate student Milklos Halmos, who built and maintains the center’s website, thinks that by bringing experts and researchers together, the center is playing a very important role in tackling the current major public health concern regarding violence.

“This center at Georgia State is just one of a small group of similar centers around the country tackling this problem,” Halmos said. “As such, it brings much needed attention and resources aimed at learning more and fixing this problem.”

Graduate student Jessica Lynn Grom assists with the center’s research projects by collecting data, writing articles, and presenting the findings of certain projects as well as coming up with ideas for future projects. Grom thinks that attention the center brings to this issue is important in helping the prevention of violence.

“The creation of the Center for Research on Interpersonal Violence is one indicator that the university is supporting efforts and investing in solutions to the problem of violence in our society,” Grom said.

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She hopes that the Center will help shed light on the important questions that are being posed in our society today and hopefully help in making necessary changes. “Recently, the media has been saturated with stories involving violence and my hope is that our research can identify the risk factors for the perpetration of violent behaviors as well as ways identify ways to reduce or prevent violence we have been seeing so often in our society,” Grom said.

Students like Nara Landress say they’re glad Georgia State is turning its attention to the problem of violence, especially due to the university’s location.

“As any high volume campus is, it often feels like just another target for another instance of violence as has been the case nationwide,” Landress said. “Georgia State’s character is one of curiosity, cooperation, acceptance, and innovation. If anyone can and should be doing something like this, it’s us.”

“I think it’s something any school should be investing in with the recent problems that society is facing, especially since violence takes place predominantly in cities,” Georgia State student, Wendmarie Figueroa said.

Parrott said he believes this new center is a big step forward for Georgia State in recognizing and preventing various types of violent behavior in the future and that it has the potential to make a huge difference.

“Georgia State is putting skin in the game saying we want to be at the forefront of tackling this problem,” Parrott said. “If I was a student here I would feel good that my university is not on the sidelines.”