Welcome to the Violence Prevention Research Program

The Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) is a multi-disciplinary program of research and policy development at the University of California, Davis. Thirty years ago, we helped develop what has come to be known as the public health approach to firearm violence, and we apply that approach to everything we do.

How to Stop Mass Shootings

In a recent piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Wintemute discusses two policies whose “benefits would extend far beyond reducing the incidence of mass shootings.” Read it here, or see the coverage and a Q&A in Science Magazine.

VPRP takes a long-term view of the role of scientific research in addressing major health and social problems. Our research is driven by the spirit of scientific inquiry, not a policy agenda; our understanding of truth as a direction, not a destination; and our awareness of the power of knowledge to relieve human suffering. We are motivated by the belief that in its very essence, violence is a violation of the fundamental human rights to life, liberty, and security of person—the right to live safely in a free society.

VPRP’s mission with regard to firearm violence has three elements:

  1. To conduct research and develop sound scientific evidence on the nature, causes, consequences, and prevention of firearm violence
  2. To disseminate that evidence and promote the adoption of evidence-based firearm violence prevention measures
  3. To expand and extend such efforts through education and training in firearm violence research and its applications

VPRP conducts policy-relevant research and evaluation, and policy development. Our two largest current projects are a statewide randomized trial of California’s unique Armed and Prohibited Persons System and a longitudinal study of the relationship between alcohol abuse and violence among 115,000 firearm owners. We are evaluating California’s new gun violence restraining order statute and the effectiveness of policies that require background checks for all purchases of firearms.

VPRP is expanding in size and scope, now serving as the home of the new University of California Firearm Violence Research Center (UCFC). VPRP is also adding new areas of emphasis in alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness, and the social factors that determine risk for violence, substance abuse, and mental illness.

In the past several years we have recruited four outstanding new faculty investigators, two postdoctoral research fellows, a senior statistician, and excellent master’s-level analysts who are acquiring practical research experience before returning to complete their doctoral training. All have made long-term commitments to firearm violence research. Learn more about our team here.

VPRP's Substance Use Research

VPRP is currently conducting a national study on the impact that prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) characteristics have on prescription opioid and heroin overdose. This work is focused on addressing four critical questions to determine the effect of PDMPs on PO-related harm:

  1. What is the impact of PDMPs on opioid overdose?
  2. Do variations in PDMP characteristics affect outcomes?
  3. Who benefits the most from PDMPs?
  4. Can PDMPs have unintended negative outcomes?

VPRP is also conducting research on marijuana policies, including an ongoing impact evaluation on the health and social consequences of marijuana legalization in Uruguay. In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana use and to regulate the sale, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana. The Uruguayan model is different from the models currently adopted in US states in unique ways that can inform marijuana policy discussions and decisions in the US and abroad.

About the UC Firearm Violence Research Center

UC Davis VPRP is the site of UCFC, the new University of California Firearm Violence Research Center. UCFC takes a long-term view of the role of scientific research in addressing major health and social problems.

The center emphasizes applied, actionable research and focuses on aspects of firearm violence that create the largest burden for the population at large, as well as those with particularly disproportionate effects on population subsets.

UCFC also gives emphasis to the social determinants of violence, structural as well as individual risk factors for violence, inequities and disparities in risk for violence and the consequences of violence, and interventions addressing both high risk groups and the general population.

In addition to the core team of UCFC investigators at UC Davis, teams of investigators at the Berkeley, Irvine, and Los Angeles campuses are active participants in UCFC research.

Did you know?

A priority of our work at the Violence Prevention Research Program is communicating and disseminating complex scientific research so that it is informative for intervention  and actionable for decision makers. Click to see A Few Myths and Facts About Firearm Violence.