Governor Lamont Announces Inaugural Meeting of the Connecticut Commission on Community Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention
Commission Will Advise the Department of Public Health on the Allocation of $2.9 Million in Violence Intervention Funding
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut’s newly established Commission on Community Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention will hold its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. in room 1D of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
Established by legislation that the governor proposed and signed into law during the most recent legislative session, the commission is tasked with advising the Connecticut Department of Public Health on a new statewide community gun violence intervention and prevention program, which will provide state grants to community-based violence intervention organizations. The program is being administered by the Department of Public Health’s Office of Injury and Violence Prevention and was allocated $2.9 million in the fiscal year 2023 budget adjustment bill. The department will also begin a robust evaluation of best practices to assist organizations in spending these resources most effectively.
This investment builds on the Lamont administration’s comprehensive approach to public safety that strengthens community-based interventions, supports law enforcement-led strategies, and works to keep illegal guns off the street. In addition to the investment in this program, the Connecticut Department of Social Services has launched a Medicaid benefit that enables violence prevention professionals to bill Medicaid for specific Community Violence interventions.
“Gun violence has been endemic in some of our communities for too long,” Governor Lamont said. “Addressing this type of violence requires continual adaptation, diverse partnerships, and rigorous evaluation. That is why Connecticut is launching this anti-violence program and increasing its investment in proven practices to prevent and reduce community gun violence. While recent statistics show that Connecticut continues to be among the safest states in the country, one incident of violence is one too many. This program will save lives by bringing together law enforcement, hospitals, and communities to address the causes and effects of gun violence. I thank the Department of Public Health, my legislative colleagues, and the advisory committee for the collaborative work to get to this point, and I look forward to this program making a positive impact in our neighborhoods statewide.”
“I am glad that Governor Lamont and our legislature have invested resources that will allow the Department of Public Health to work with communities affected by gun violence,” Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, said. “This investment is an important first step that will set the Commission on Community Gun Violence on a trajectory to advise the department on sustainable strategies as we continue to address gun violence in Connecticut.”
As required by state statute, Governor Lamont has appointed two members to serve on the commission. His appointees include Janet Rice of Hartford and Dr. Kerri Raissian of Avon. Rice lost her only child to gun violence and is a longtime advocate in favor of a solution to address community-level gun violence. Dr. Raissian is an associate professor in the School of Public Policy at UConn and the director of UConn’s Center for Advancing Research, Methods, and Scholarship in Gun Injury Prevention. In this role, Dr. Raissian’s research analyzes the casual effects of policies and interventions, with a particular focus on gun violence.
The remainder of the commission’s members are appointed by the bipartisan legislative leaders; the co-chairs of the legislature’s Public Health Committee; the executive director of the Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity, and Opportunity; and the commissioner of the Department of Public Health. Its current membership includes:
- Carl Schiessl, Connecticut Hospital Association (Appointed by Speaker Ritter)
- Jacquelyn Santiago, COMPASS Youth Collaborative (Appointed by Speaker Ritter)
- Leonard Jahad, Connecticut Violence Intervention Program (Appointed by Senator Looney)
- Ebony Epps, Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (Appointed by Senator Looney)
- Andrew Woods, Hartford Communities that Care (Appointed by Representative Rojas)
- Jeremy Stein, Connecticut Against Gun Violence (Appointed by Representative Rojas)
- Harold Dimbo, Project Longevity Bridgeport (Appointed by Senator Duff)
- Dr. David Shapiro, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center (Appointed by Senator Duff)
- Dr. James Dodington, Yale New Haven Health (Appointed by Representative Candelora)
- Dr. Charles Johndro, Hartford Hospital (Appointed by Senator Kelly)
- Dawn Spearman, You Are Not Alone (Appointed by Representative Steinberg)
- Deborah Davis, Mothers United Against Violence (Appointed by Senator Abrams)
- Kyle Fischer, The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (Appointed by CWCSEO Executive Director Steven Hernández)
- Susan Logan, Department of Public Health (Appointed by Commissioner Juthani)
- Colleen Violette, Department of Public Health (Appointed by Commissioner Juthani)
- Dr. Kerri Raissian, UConn School of Public Policy (Appointed by Governor Lamont)
- Janet Rice, advocate for violent crime survivors (Appointed by Governor Lamont)
- Karl Jacobson, New Haven Police Department (Appointed by Representative Candelora)
- Commissioner Manisha Juthani, Department of Public Health (ex officio)
- Commissioner Vanessa Dorantes, Department of Children and Families (ex officio)
- Dr. Bradley Richards, Department of Social Services (ex officio, designee of Commissioner Gifford)
- Dr. Pina Violano, Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity, and Opportunity (ex officio, designee of Steven Hernández)