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Beyond Policy: Understanding Gun Violence Prevention

Monday, September 12, 2022 -
1:00pm to 2:00pm PDT
Zoom Meeting
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Gun violence is the leading cause of death of children and teens in the United States, having disproportionately impacted BIPOC communities for generations. For far too long, the emphasis on gun violence reduction has focused on easy accessibility to guns without addressing the root causes and demanding direct input from those communities most impacted. This, combined with the recent surge in firearm sales, a global pandemic, and racial tensions at an all-time high, has created a more vital need than ever for a collaborative approach to the public health epidemic of gun violence and firearm suicide. Community development, early childhood education, arts, health, equity, and other crucial aspects of a thriving society will continue to suffer if these communities are still plagued by gun violence.

Although California has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, and the recent passage of the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has increased attention and funding toward fighting this epidemic, we are seeing approaches shift from “legislation as the main means of change” to other strategies, particularly ones that are community-based and community-led. The root causes and consequences of rampant gun violence are intersectional, and approaches to change must be as well. Join the Hope and Heal Fund and Philanthropy California for a discussion about philanthropy’s vital role in tackling this public health crisis and how this sector can truly move the needle on preventing gun deaths, injuries, and the generational trauma associated with violence.


Rachel Davis, Executive Director, Prevention Institute
Rachel Davis plays a key role in shaping Prevention Institute’s approach and guiding innovative initiatives aimed at promoting health equity, racial justice, and community resilience across health, safety, and wellbeing. As Executive Director, she has led the organization in prioritizing health equity and racial justice across all facets of the work, including developing a racial justice roadmap that guides internal and external work. During her tenure, the organization has deepened its commitment to working with communities of practice, particularly partnering with communities most impacted by inequities, and expanded its focus on public health policy to advance public health practice centered in equity. Her work at Prevention Institute has influenced state and federal policies and programs on violence prevention, mental health, health equity, and public health generally. In 201, she won the APHA Award for Excellence. This award is given each year to a living individual in recognition of exceptionally meritorious contributions to improving community health. Rachel directed Prevention Institute’s safety work for over two decades. As part of that, she co-developed UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth through violence prevention), a CDC-seeded national initiative advancing a public health approach to safety. UNITY helped cities and community leaders advance effective violence prevention approaches. More recently, she co-authored Community Safety Realized: Public Health Pathways to Preventing Violence, in partnership with the Big Cities Health Coalition. She also developed guidance for The California Endowment’s grantees on local violence prevention and co-authored the foundation’s community safety framework published in 2015, Community Safety: A BuildingBlock for Healthy Communities.
Brian Malte, Executive Director, Hope and Heal Fund
Brian Malte is a nationally recognized leader in the gun violence prevention movement. Over the course of his 25-year career, Brian has led community-based movements as well as strategic political campaigns for sensible gun reforms. In 2001, Brian joined the Washington, D.C. office of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. First as National Field Director, then Political Director, and lastly as National Policy Director, Brian became one of the country’s most familiar spokesmen for the burgeoning gun violence prevention movement. In 2016 he returned to his California roots to helm the Hope and Heal Fund to spearhead the philanthropic movement to increase support to local violence prevention organizations and to community advocates working to end gun violence. Brian has been a featured speaker at many state and national conferences and routinely provides expert analysis to news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NPR, and Mother Jones. For more information on Brian and to read his blogs please visit
Tracy Ward, National Community Health LeadKaiser-Permanente
Tracy Ward describes herself as a change agent. She is a social worker at heart and has been in the social work field for more than 20 years. After serving eight years as a Child Protective Services Social Worker with Contra Costa County, Tracy moved to the nonprofit world. Prior to her current position with Kaiser Permanente, she served as Director of the YMCA of the East Bay mental health programs, overseeing a school-based mental health and clinical trainee program in the West Contra Costa School District.
In January of 2017, Tracy accepted a position with Kaiser Permanente. She is currently the National Community Health Lead leading the national strategy to address intergenerational trauma. Her work is focused on ACEs, mental health and wellness, and community and family safety. This is the perfect position for Tracy as it leverages her mental health experience and deepens her commitment to serving and empowering the community. Tracy currently serves on Kaiser Permanente’s National Equity Workgroup and the Mental Health Scholars advisory board. Tracy was raised in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood by a single mother, to whom she attributes her spirit of caretaking and self-responsibility. Her personal passion and commitment to youth led her to accept board of directors positions for Take Wings Foundation, an organization that serves at-risk youth in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and Flourish Agenda, an organization that focuses on healing from trauma in marginalized communities. Tracy also serves on the Advisory Committee for the HAVI (Health Alliance for Violence Intervention) a national organization focused on violence prevention, social justice, and advocacy. She is also a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and The National Association of Social Workers. Tracy holds a BA in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. In December of 2009, she obtained her License in Clinical Social Work.



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