Safety, Justice, and Health Learning Community

What is the relationship between safety, justice, and health in the United States? How do the goals of public safety and social justice interact? How can our interdisciplinary research inform criminal justice policy and violence prevention, as well as meaningfully contribute to social movements advocating for justice and community wellbeing?

In the academic year 2021-2022, the Initiative on Cities supported the establishment of a learning community at the intersection of public health, community safety, and justice — under the leadership of Assistant Professor of Sociology Jessica Simes (BU CAS) and Assistant Professor of Community Health Sciences Jonathan Jay (BU SPH). Boston University has a wealth of experts and scholars researching topics related to household and community violence, police violence, incarceration, prison conditions, and non-policing interventions to address violence, among other related topics. We hope that this year-long series will build bridges across the campus, and lead to a richer understanding of how we should be approaching community safety.

Fall 2021

In Fall 2021, the community hosted 5 discussion panels on 3 days, with panels consisting of 3-4 discussants each on the topics of safety, justice, and health.

Spring 2022

In Spring 2022 the community hosted a discussion on Thursday, March 31 from 2–4pm. The discussants included André de Quadros, Professor of Music/Music Education; Michael Poulson, Research Fellow and Resident at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center; Laura Captari, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Albert & Jessie Danielsen Institute; Kimberly Rhoten, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology; Heather Schoenfled, Professor of Sociology; and Spencer Piston, Associate Professor of Political Science. 

If you have any questions or are a member of the BU community who would like to participate, please contact our Graduate Student Coordinator Kimberly Rhoten (they/them), Doctoral Candidate in Sociology (BU CAS) at