Violence prevention study wins top journal award

UC Davis Health research on political violence earns Jess Kraus Award for best paper published in Injury Epidemiology


Garen Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP), is the recipient of the Jess Kraus Award for a major research paper he authored on political violence.

The paper, “Views of democracy and society and support for political violence in the USA: findings from a nationally representative survey, ” was published in Injury Epidemiology in September 2023.

A man sits at a conference table and shows his laptop screen to others seated nearby
VPRP researchers received the Jess Kraus Award for their study examining the potential for political violence in the U.S.

The prestigious recognition is given annually to the first author of the best article published in the journal, which examines patterns that contribute to health, disease and mortality within a population.

The editorial board selects winners according to novelty, simplicity, clarity and the potential impact on population health.

Another paper from VPRP, “Association of medical conditions and firearm suicide among legal handgun purchasers in California: a case-control study,” came in second place for the award. Julia Schleimer, an analyst at VPRP and doctoral student at the University of Washington, is the first author of that paper.

The award is named after Jess Kraus, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at UCLA, who was also a member of the UC Davis faculty for 12 years.

The impact of political violence on public health

The award-winning paper examines the complex mix of attitudes, concerns and beliefs about the state of democracy and the potential for political violence in the U.S. The research found that a small but concerning segment of the U.S. population considers violence, including lethal violence, to be usually or always justified to advance political objectives.

Wintemute is a distinguished professor of emergency medicine and directs the California Firearm Violence Research Center. He is a renowned expert on the public health crisis of gun violence. “This study was motivated by the possibility of violence that could put at risk the future of the United States as a free and democratic society,” Wintemute said.

Veronica Pear is the senior author of the paper and a social epidemiologist and assistant professor of emergency medicine. “Political violence has not traditionally been included in the purview of public health. This is an oversight in our opinion, and we hope this work helps to reframe the matter,” Pear said.

Additional authors of the paper include Sonia L. Robinson, Andrew Crawford, Daniel Tancredi, Julia P. Schleimer, Elizabeth A. Tomsich, Paul M. Reeping and Aaron B. Shev.

“The award recognizes the work of this entire team,” Wintemute said.

Injury Epidemiology is part of Springer Nature and is affiliated with Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The journal publishes scientific research aimed at preventing injuries and deaths from a wide range of causes, including firearm violence, motor vehicle crashes, drug overdoses, falls, drowning and suicide.

The award will be presented this fall during a ceremony at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York.