Published 11/2021 on the UMD College of Behavioral & Social Sciences website

Dr. Joseph Richardson, the Joel and Kim Feller Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology well-known in the DMV for his work researching gun violence and trauma among African American boys and men, was one of only eight individuals selected as an inaugural MPower Professor by the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership, MPowering the State (MPower).

MPower is a collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) to strengthen Maryland’s innovation economy, advance interdisciplinary research, create opportunities for students, and solve important problems for the people of Maryland and the nation. The new MPower Professorship was created to continue that mission by recognizing, incentivizing, and fostering collaborations between faculty who are working together on the most pressing issues of our time.   

“The MPower Professorship is such a significant honor and milestone in my academic career, but I must thank the individuals that supported me on my journey,” said Dr. Richardson, specifically citing Dr. Carnell Cooper, former trauma surgeon at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and former professor in the Department of Surgery at the UMB School of Medicine; his mentor, Ruth Zambrana in the Department of Women’s Studies; Dean Gregory Ball; and his home department, the Department of African American Studies. “Most importantly, I want to thank all the young men that have participated in my studies and violence intervention programs at the trauma centers where I conduct my work. Without their trust and belief that their narratives would translate into lifesaving interventions, I would not be inspired to continue to engage in research on the ground that will make a difference. This award is really a tribute to them.” 

Dr. Richardson and the other MPower Professors (a full list can be found here) will each receive $150,000 over three years, a sum that can be applied to their salary or used to support supplemental research activities.

“In the future, I plan to focus on research that will lead to a reduction in gun violence across the state, the nation and the world, but it is my sincere intent to amplify the voices on the ground and use those voices as vessels to solve human suffering,” continued Dr. Richardson. “In their narratives lie the solutions.”

Thanks to Dr. Cooper, Dr. Richardson—who is also a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM— currently utilizes the busiest trauma centers in Maryland as his research labs to investigate gun violence, trauma and the effectiveness of hospital-based violence intervention programs. He was selected from a competitive pool of nominees hailing from 11 schools and colleges, on the basis that his work would be unattainable or difficult to achieve by UMB or UMCP acting independent of one another. 

“The BSOS community congratulates Professor Richardson on this well-deserved recognition,” said Dean Gregory Ball. “His research, teaching and community engagement efforts are nothing short of transformative, and we look forward to supporting his future projects. I have no doubt his work will continue to have a significant impact in academia, and in a range of communities that include our own Prince George’s County.”

For more information on MPower, see here: mpower.maryland.edu