Project to be led by women who have experienced gun violence and will receive training
 on conducting research on the topic.

On National Wear Orange Day, a day to recognize the impact of gun violence in our communities, Cook County Health is proud to announce the health system was awarded a $200,000, 2-year grant by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Gun Violence Research and Education to research the impact of gun violence on women. CCH is one of 10 recipients awarded in 2024, out of a field of more than 260 applicants.

“We understand that tackling the gun violence crisis requires a comprehensive and holistic approach,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Research plays a vital role in uncovering the most effective strategies to support those most affected by violence and reduce its prevalence in our communities. This grant not only supports that essential research but also empowers women who have experienced gun violence to lead and shape the solutions in an equitable way. By centering their voices and experiences, we can develop more impactful and inclusive approaches to address and prevent gun violence.”

“Cook County Health has long advocated for approaching gun violence as a public health crisis,” said Dr. Erik Mikaitis, Interim CEO, Cook County Health. “We are grateful to the Kaiser Permanente Center for Gun Violence Research and Education for recognizing the importance of the work being done at Stroger Hospital to support patients and families who have been impacted by gun violence.”

At Cook County Health, one of the country’s busiest trauma centers, doctors cared for 771 patients with gun-related injuries in 2023. Fourteen percent of those patients identified as women but Cook County Health officials said that percentage only tells part of the story.

Over the two years of the grant, the team will conduct a research study about the impact of gun violence on women using a Participatory Action Research Approach (PAR). The PAR model emphasizes a collaborative process, political action and leadership by members of communities affected by the research.

“Much of the current gun violence research that is focused on women is centered on intimate partner violence,” said Rev. Carol Reese, Director of the Division of Trauma Recovery, Intervention and Prevention, Cook County Health. “But women are significantly impacted by other forms of gun violence, whether they are the victim or are caring for a survivor. Too often women are left out of medical research, and, through this project, we will ensure that women’s voices and experiences are heard loud and clear.”

Cook County Health’s proposed project will focus on African American and Latina women who have been disproportionately harmed and impacted by violence; help to shift the narrative about female survivorship by placing African American and Latina women at the center of their own research; and generate new ideas for effective violence prevention in Chicago and throughout the U.S.  

“Using PAR as a research model is an intentional choice,” said Beth-Anne Jacob, PhD, and the project’s lead. “Engaging women impacted by community gun violence as researchers and subject matter experts on their own lives and their communities is one way to establish more equitable research. It also aligns with Cook County Health’s history of centering those we care for in our work.”

The research is being conducted through Healing Hurt People-Chicago, a hospital-based violence intervention program at Stroger Hospital that helps people heal emotionally and physically from injuries by community violence through assessment, psychoeducation, practical support, as well as individual and group therapeutic work.

“Over the past two years, Cook County has made a historic investment to address the drivers and impacts of community violence through the $110 million American Rescue Plan Act funded Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Grant initiative, and other complementary investments,” said Avik Das, Executive Director of the Cook County Justice Advisory Council. “It is critical that all of our investments are both evidence-informed, and community affirmed. This important research project exemplifies this approach by centering the experience and wisdom of women directly impacted by gun violence. We are grateful to Cook County Health and Healing Hurt People for leading this work as it will inform our understanding of the needs and priorities of this underserved population and will help shape future investments.”

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Gun Violence Research and Education is pursuing a world free of gun violence, where affected communities drive the meaningful change needed for a healthy and safe society. In 2023, more than 40,000 people were killed by guns in the country.


About Cook County Health

One of the largest public health systems in the nation, Cook County Health (CCH) serves as the safety-net for health care in Chicago and suburban Cook County. CCH is comprised of two hospitals, a robust network of more than a dozen community health centers, the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, the Cook County Department of Public Health, Correctional Health Services, which provides health care to individuals at the Cook County Jail and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and CountyCare, a Medicaid managed care health plan. Through the health system and the health plan, CCH cares for more than 500,000 individuals each year, and its physicians are experts in their fields, committed to providing their patients with comprehensive, compassionate and cutting-edge care. Today, CCH is transforming the provision of health care in Cook County by promoting community-based primary and preventive care, growing an innovative, collaborative health plan, and enhancing the patient experience. 

About the Kaiser Permanente Center for Gun Violence Research and Education

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Gun Violence Research and Education is pursuing a world free of gun violence, where affected communities drive the meaningful change needed for a healthy and safe society. Established in 2022 by Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health care provider, the center endeavors to transform the gun violence research and education field and change narratives about the value and impact of actionable, health-focused solutions for gun violence. In 2023, Kaiser Permanente committed to invest an historic $25 million over 5 years to expand the work of the center, which is coordinated in collaboration with the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI). The center supports equity-centered research, educates the public on gun violence causes and solutions, and partners with the most impacted communities to innovate, implement, and scale evidence-based health-focused interventions that prevent gun violence.

About the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI)

The HAVI fosters a national network of hospital-community partnerships to support the development of hospital-based violence intervention programs. These programs address the social determinants of health for victims of firearm injury and are one component of a comprehensive community violence intervention ecosystem. The HAVI serves over 85 cities in the U.S. and beyond, providing training and technical assistance, strategic communications, policy development, peer learning, and research. Through its national research and evaluation working group and established partnership with the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, the HAVI convenes and supports gun violence researchers focused on health-based solutions. The HAVI has been covered in national media including CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post for its work addressing violence as a public health emergency, elevating the voice of violence prevention professionals in communities of color, and securing Medicaid reimbursement for violence prevention professionals in several US states. The HAVI is a fiscally sponsored organization under the umbrella of Health Resources in Action, a public health institute committed to advancing health and racial equity for over 60 years.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.