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January 11, 2013

PhD Student Involved in National Summit, Book Chapter

Beth McGinty

As a contributor to a landmark gun policy Summit, and the lead author of a chapter in the Summit’s companion book, PhD candidate Beth McGinty says she is benefiting from “the kind of opportunity that those of us who work in health policy dream of.”

The 30-year-old health and public policy student is part of a team that’s presenting new research at the Summit on Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis. McGinty collaborated on the study, which aims to help inform public policy, with Professor Daniel Webster and Associate Professor Colleen L. Barry, top scholars in the field who also happen to serve as her advisors. Associate Professor Jon Vernick also contributed to the presentation and chapter that’s entitled Public Opinion Proposals to Strength U.S. Gun Laws: Findings from a 2013 survey.

McGinty worked with the renowned faculty to poll Americans’ attitudes toward gun policy proposals after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting. Findings from the poll will be included as a chapter in the book edited by Webster and Vernick who direct the Center for Gun Policy and Research. A definitive resource for policy makers, the book will synthesize research, analyses and experiences from more than 20 global experts convened at the Bloomberg School on January 14 and 15.

“It’s been so wonderful working with advisors who are very willing to let a student help write a survey and be the first author on a book chapter,” says McGinty, who envisions a career of research at the intersection of mental health and social policy.

Grateful for mentors who treat her like a peer, she adds: “It might be unusual to be working on something so high-profile that (Johns Hopkins University) President Ron Daniels calls a summit related to it. But I don’t think it’s at all unusual to have faculty who are very supportive of putting students in situations like this. I think you see that here all the time.”

by Maryalice Yakutchik