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MU awarded competitive grant to improve community health, reduce violence

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is a national leadership program to build health equity

October 19th, 2017

Story Contact: Sheena Rice, 573-882-8353,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Two University of Missouri School of Social Work researchers recently were selected as fellows by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its Interdisciplinary Research Leaders project. The fellowship connects researchers with community service providers to establish innovative solutions to help everyone in America live longer, healthier lives. As part of their selection, the team received $350,000 in funding to support research projects aimed at violence prevention.

Associate Professor Clark Peters and Assistant Professor Kelli Canada will work with Rachel Jones, assistant director of youth specialty services at Burrell Behavioral Health, as one of only 15 three-person teams in the nation. The team will focus on youth-development approaches to prevent violence and promote positive health outcomes.

Peters, Canada and Jones will join a diverse group of researchers and community leaders—directors of nonprofits, psychologists, community organizers and sociologists—located across the country, to collaborate and innovate to solve persistent health challenges.

“Researchers and community leaders are powerful partners for impacting community health needs,” Peters said. “Working with teams across the country, we will be a part of solving real-world problems.”

“What’s exciting about this opportunity is that we are making research relevant to community needs,” Canada said. “Working directly with Rachel Jones and community partners, we will be able to improve the translation of research and get results directly to the people.”

Additional partners providing training and support across the country to fellows include AcademyHealth, ISAIAH and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is one of a number of leadership development programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These programs continue the foundation’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Additional information is available at

The School of Social Work is in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Peters also has appointments in the Truman School of Public Affairs.