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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9898

March 25, 2004
MEDIA CONTACT: Sandra Newman
(410) 516-4614

Johns Hopkins Public Policy Student
Wins Urban Policy Prize

Rachel Brash Wins for Paper on Youth Violence Prevention

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." The paper examined a range of youth violence prevention options currently being employed in Baltimore and other cities and recommended a comprehensive approach to reduce Baltimore's persistently high youth violence rates.

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; school-based prevention programs; intensive family therapy; and targeted police patrols in areas with high rates of violence.

Brash, who graduates this spring, will receive $5,000 for winning the contest. The Abell Award in Urban Policy is sponsored by the Abell Foundation and administered by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.

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, said Sandra J. Newman, director of IPS.

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 Johns Hopkins 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.

"The judging committee was very impressed with the breadth and quality of this year's submissions," said Gilbert Sandler, communications director for the Abell Foundation. "It's clear that Johns Hopkins students have a great deal to contribute to the policy discussions to help solve the city's problems."

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 ("Baltimore City Infant Mortality: Leading Causes, Risk Factors, and Policy Solutions") and School of Public Health doctoral student Tilly Gurman ("Reducing the Latina Teen Birth Rate in Baltimore City").

The winning papers will be circulated to relevant policymakers and opinion leaders and posted on the IPS and Abell Foundation Web sites.

This was the second year the award has been offered. The deadline for submitting a paper for next year's competition will be Jan. 18, 2005. For more information, including guidelines for submissions, contact IPS Director Sandra Newman ( sjn@jhu.edu or 410-516-4614) or visit the IPS Web site.

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