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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 5, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 29
Paper on Youth Violence Prevention in Baltimore Wins Urban Policy Award

Second-year Master of Public Policy student Rachel Brash has been selected as the winner of the 2004 Abell Foundation Award in Urban Policy for her paper "Youth Violence Prevention and Reduction: Strategies for a Safer Baltimore." Brash will receive $5,000 for her paper, which examines a range of youth violence prevention options currently being employed in Baltimore and other cities and recommends a comprehensive approach to reduce Baltimore's persistently high youth violence rates.

The award is sponsored by the Abell Foundation and administered by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.

According to IPS director Sandra J. Newman, "The contest seeks to encourage fresh thinking about the challenges facing Baltimore and provide an incentive for promising undergraduate and graduate students to focus their talents on the city's problems."

Brash's recommendations include close coordination between police, parole officers and other service providers for youth at highest risk of violence; regular home visitation by nurses and paraprofessionals to improve prenatal and early childhood care and reduce the chances of child abuse; and school-based prevention programs, intensive family therapy and targeted police patrols in areas with high rates of violence.

The award is given annually to the Johns Hopkins student who writes the most compelling paper on a pressing problem facing the city of Baltimore. The contest is open to all full-time students in any degree-granting program of the university.

This year's submissions addressed a range of topics, including reducing high infant mortality rates, preventing the spread of HIV in prisons, lowering teen birth rates among the city's Latina population, educational reform and the use of standardized tests to measure educational performance, and the impact of "zero tolerance" school discipline policies. Competitors included graduate students from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Master of Public Policy program as well as two undergraduates from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

In selecting the winning paper, the judging committee weighed the importance of the issue addressed, the quality of the analysis and the creativity and practicality of the proposed policy solution.

MPP student Brecht Donoghue received second place for her paper "The Impact of Zero Tolerance School Discipline Policies in Baltimore City." Honorable mentions went to KSAS undergraduate Eric Ding for "Baltimore City Infant Mortality: Leading Causes, Risk Factors and Policy Solutions" and to School of Public Health doctoral student Tilly Gurman for "Reducing the Latina Teen Birth Rate in Baltimore City."

The winning papers will be circulated to relevant policy-makers and opinion leaders and posted on the IPS and Abell Foundation Web sites and This was the second year the award was offered.


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