Mission & History

With grants and contracts of more than $9 million annually, our center serves as a research partner to various local, state and national non-profit, foundation and government organizations and provide the following support:

  • Evaluating programs through data collection and analysis
  • Assist potential partners in the grant application process
  • Provide training and technical assistance around evidence based practices
  • Disseminate research through publications, project reports and conference presentations

Our Mission

The Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education promotes social justice and community development by conducting applied, community-based and interdisciplinary research on the causes and prevention of violence, and by educating and training social workers, teachers, law enforcement and other professionals in the principles of effective violence prevention. The Center also develops and evaluates the impact of evidence-based best practices in violence prevention and intervention, and seeks to understand the influence of mental health, substance use, youth development and related issues on violent behavior and public health. The Center seeks to advance knowledge through dissemination of information in the scientific literature and attempts to bridge the gap between science and practice to inform public policy related to violence prevention.

Supporting our mission are the Center for Innovative Practices (CIP), the Center for Evidence-Based Practices (CEBP), and the Partnership for Evaluation, Research and Implementation (PERI). These entities provide local and state-wide social service agencies with training, technical assistance, implementation and evaluation services around evidence based practices.

Solidarity and Support for Racial Justice

The Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education stands in solidarity with those protesting racism in all its forms and supports the recent efforts in the city of Cleveland to declare racism a public health crisis.

We grieve for those have lost their lives taken by individuals motivated by, and systems so deeply rooted in, prejudice and racism. For far too long, agencies and organizations responsible for educating, caring for, and protecting its citizens have played active or passive roles in the historic and continued mistreatment of Black bodies. We observe racial disparities and their associated mental, physical, economical, and emotional consequences in so many of the areas in which we work.

We will continue to use our largely privileged voices to amplify these inconvenient but indefensible truths while simultaneously helping these same systems to do better. Injustice blooms in the shadows, and our responsibility is to shine spotlights on areas to which history, indifference, and complacency provide convenient and deadly cover.

We will continually educate ourselves, our partners, and our communities about the many ways structural and systemic racism is woven in the fabric of our nation.

We will continually examine the ways in which our own work falls short of our goals and use those lessons to become better advocates and allies.

Silence and inaction are not options.

Black lives matter.

Our History

  • 1998 – Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence (ISPV) at Kent State University (KSU) is formed; Dan Flannery, PhD is founding director
  • 1999 – the Center for Evidence-Based Practices (CEBP) at the Mandel School at CWRU is formed as a joint partnership with the CWRU Department of Psychiatry; Lenore Kola, PhD of the Mandel School and Robert Ronis, MD of Psychiatry are founding co-directors
  • 2000 – the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at MSASS at CWRU is formed; a national search for a director commences
  • 2000 - the Center for Innovative Practices (CIP) is founded by Patrick Kanary, MEd (now part of Begun Center National Advisory Board) at Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery
  • 2002 - Mark Fleisher is founding director of Begun Center
  • 2007 - Mark Singer becomes governing director of Begun Center
  • 2008 – the CIP moves to join the ISPV at KSU
  • 2011 – ISPV faculty and staff, including the CIP, move to CWRU to join the Begun Center; Dan Flannery takes over as director; Mark Singer transitions to deputy director
  • 2015 – Jeff Kretschmar, PhD, is named as managing director of the Begun Center
  • 2015 – Jeff Kretschmar and Patrick Kanary form the Partnership for Evaluation, Research, and Implementation (PERI)
  • 2017 – Patrick Kanary retires as director of CIP after 17 years; Richard Shepler, PhD is named as new director
  • 2018 – the Begun Center honors 20 years of violence prevention research and education with a full day of events with over 200 guests from around the country
  • 2020 – Lenore Kola and then co-director Patrick Boyle, PhD, both retire; Ric Kruszynski, MSSA, then managing director, becomes director
  • 2020 – the CEBP joins the Begun Center; Dan Flannery remains director of all four original centers, now merged into one