Ten years after Sandy Hook, let’s act to reduce mass violence

hands holding candles

“It is easy to feel powerless in the face of the horror of mass shootings. But we know what works. We know how to address this problem. It’s time to act”, says Beverly Kingston in her recent guest commentary in the Denver Post. Kingston, Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, addresses the rise in mass violence and school shootings in the United States and what preventative measures can be taken against them. One of the center’s initiatives, Safe Communities Safe School, recently partnered with the National Association of School Resource Officers to develop a new project that focuses on training school safety teams in preventing violence. Kingston explains what resources will aid in the prevention of school shootings, what patterns there are in school violence and opportunities for intervention.  Read the full article in the Denver Post.

IBS Director Lori Hunter Selected to Serve on Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Climate-related Risks and Opportunities to Advise White House Policy

Lori Hunter

IBS Director, Dr. Lori Hunter, has been selected as a member of the Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Climate-related Risks and Opportunities established by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Roundtable, consisting of cross-disciplinary experts in academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations, will work to inform fiscal, monetary, and financial stability policies as the United States transitions to a net-zero carbon economy and prepares for anticipated impacts of climate change. In addition to members of the Roundtable, meetings are attended by officials from across the Biden-Harris Administration, including Budget Chief Economist Zach Liscow.

The Roundtable will seek to discuss the challenges of accounting for climate change risks and opportunities with the goal of drawing upon international expertise and policies to advance methodologies that will support the development of macroeconomic analysis that inform the federal budget process in the United States. To this end, the Roundtable will address “how to translate the uncertain impacts of climate change and the transition to net-zero carbon emissions economies into inputs to macroeconomic analyses; and how to adjust macroeconomic models and analytic approaches to accommodate the unique characteristics of climate risks and opportunities.” According to a White House briefing, the vital insight and policy recommendations generated by the Roundtable “will help realize the President’s vision of rapidly transitioning our economy to produce and use clean energy by 2050.”

Additional information on the Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Climate-related Risks and Opportunities and its members can be found on the National Academies Website and at whitehouse.gov.

IBS Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence awarded $1.2 million grant aimed at violence prevention and education

The partnership between the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and the campus police department is the result of a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As part of the project, the center will partner with the CU Boulder Police Department, student government leaders, and campus units to engage the entire campus community in a comprehensive approach to violence prevention.

The grant seeks to address the gaps between identifying issues and providing services for violence prevention through awareness training and social media messaging, which could begin as early as next fall. The intent of the project is to educate the public on how to recognize threats and to build confidence in reporting safety concerns.

As a component of the grant funding, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and the CU Boulder Police Department will host an interactive program aimed at raising awareness of warning signs for violence and the importance of upstander reporting as a part of a new two-year partnership.

The program is open to the public and is from 6:30-8:15 p.m on Thursday the 27th at the Boulder Jewish Community Center, 6007 Oreg Ave.

Additional information on the grant, partnership, and community outreach event can be found at CU Boulder Today and The Boulder Daily Camera.

IBS Center for Resilience + Well-Being awarded $900,000 grant to reduce youth health disparities

Let's Connect team

The Center for Resilience + Well-Being has been awarded a $900,000 grant by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Their aim is to build the capacity of families and communities to reduce health disparities for underserved youth ages 3-17 impacted by violence. The Center will establish sustainable implementation of culturally-relevant, trauma-responsive, evidence-based interventions for families impacted by violence in Boulder and Broomfield counties through four parent-child programs along the prevention and intervention continuum. One of these programs, Let’s Connect, was Co-Developed at IBS by Dr. Monica Fitzgerald, Dr. Kimberly Shipman, and Dr. Lucianne Hackbert.

More information on The Center for Resilience and Well-being can be found here and information specific to the grant can be found on the OJJDP website.

Youth in child welfare system lack access to birth control

Dr. Katie Massey Combs

CU Boulder Today interviewed Katie Massey Combs, Research Associate at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence in the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, to ask about her research on the accessibility and knowledge of contraceptive use among youth in the child welfare system. Learn more about the research on disproportionate rates of sexual and reproductive health risks among youth with child welfare involvement, in CU Boulder Today. In addition to CU Boulder Today, Dr. Combs has been interviewed by KGNU and The Colorado Sun. Her research can be found on Science Direct.

Dr. Lori Hunter named director of Institute of Behavioral Science

Lori Hunter

The University of Colorado Boulder has named Dr. Lori Hunter director of its Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS), which applies leading edge social and behavioral science to inform and influence policies and actions with a national and international impact.

Hunter, who joined CU Boulder and IBS in 2000, is a professor of Sociology and faculty fellow in IBS’s Research Programs on Environment & Society and Population. Since 2017, she has served as director of the Institute’s Population Program and NIH-funded CU Population Center which facilitates research on migration, health and population-environment interactions. She also served as chair of Sociology from 2019-2021. Her academic tenure home will continue to reside in the Department of Sociology.

“I am delighted to welcome Lori Hunter as the next director of IBS,” said Massimo Ruzzene, acting vice chancellor for Research and Innovation and dean of the institutes. “As a distinguished contributor and leader at IBS for decades, Lori is highly regarded across our campus. As director, her combined experience and enthusiastic leadership approach will keep IBS at the forefront of the social and behavioral sciences.”

Myron Gutmann, who has served as director of IBS since January 2015, is retiring from his regular faculty position as a professor of History and will continue his scholarship as a research professor at IBS.

The faculty, staff, and associates at IBS welcome Lori in her new role as director and thank Myron for his leadership and service to IBS.

Read the remainder of the article and learn more about Lori and IBS here.

US life expectancy still falling, Native Americans hardest hit

Ryan Masters

“With the wide availability of vaccines in the United States, there was a lot of optimism that 2021 would look better than 2020,” said co-author Ryan Masters, an associate professor of sociology and IBS Affiliate. “That did not happen. The U.S. didn’t take COVID seriously to the extent that other countries did, and we paid a horrific price for it, with black and brown people suffering the most.”

Read more about the study in CU Boulder Today.

IBS Research Development Awards

IBS logo

IBS and CU Population Center (CUPC) are excited to announce the winning proposals for Research Development Awards/Seed Grants. We had a total of 9 applications between the two funding calls and were able to fund almost $79,000 in awards using IBS, CUPC, and Program funds. 

The IBS Research Development Awards were open to all CU faculty and research staff (with preference given to IBS Fellows and staff), and particularly welcomed proposals that advanced equity, diversity, and inclusion themes in substance, methods, and personnel. The CUPC Seed Grants sought proposals that highlighted health behaviors and disparities, reproductive health, gene-environment, environmental demography, and migration as well as work within the Rocky Mountain Research Data Center (RMRDC) or in collaboration with CU’s Earth Lab.

IBS and CUPC would like to acknowledge that several additional IBS Programs contributed finances to allow us to fund more of the awards than we had initially been able to budget for. Thank you to the Environment and Society Program, the Prevention Science Program, and the Program on International Development for your contributions.

The funded proposals were:

  • Alexandra Siegel – “Can Online Exposure to Outgroups Improve Intergroup Attitudes and Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Israel.”
  • Kyle Thomas – “Assessing the ‘Great Crime Decline’ using intergenerational data.”
  • Ryan Masters – “Life Expectancy Trends among the U.S. States and Peer Countries, 1990-2020:
    Estimating the Impact of the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic on Widening Differences.”
  • Beverly Kingston – “Designing and Evaluating a Multicomponent Intervention to Heal Trauma, Prevent Violence, and Promote Resiliency and Wellness in Under-resourced Communities of Color.”
  • Courtney Welton-Mitchell – “Mental Health and Psychosocial support-integrated Climate Change Adaptation for Subsistence Farming Communities in Mizoram, India.”

Statement on Preventing School Violence


Like the rest of the nation and world, we are devastated to learn of the loss of 19 children and two teachers to school violence at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Each time a tragic attack happens, our research group is asked, “How can we prevent things like this from happening? What should we do when they do happen?” The sad truth is that we know what is needed to prevent violence and support those affected by violence, but we have not consistently put our knowledge into practice. It is time to fully commit to putting what we know works into action. We recommend that federal, state and local efforts invest in: violence prevention, bystander reporting and response, behavioral threat assessment and management, and (when these events do occur) trauma-informed support for children and their families.

Read the full statement and find resources for preventing school violence, provided by the IBS Prevention Science Program and the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.