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Dexter R. Voisin is a Professor in the School of Social Service Administration and a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Culture, and Politics and the Center for Health and the Social Sciences. His fields of special interest include community violence exposure, adolescent sexual risk behaviors, the role of gender in adapting to risks, international HIV prevention, and social work practice.A central focus of Voisin’s scholarship is examining the impact of community violence on a wide range of problem behaviors and impact of gender on risk and protective youth trajectories. His research demonstrates that the problems of community violence exposure are correlated with youth mental health problems, school failure, negative peer networks, and high rates of HIV-related risk behaviors, which are interconnected outcomes in the lives of adolescents, particularly those who live in urban communities.Professor Voisin has published numerous peer-reviewed studies, with publications in accepted in such journals as AIDS, AIDS Education and Prevention, the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, the American Journal of Public Health, Children and Youth Services Review, the Journal of Adolescent Health, and the Journal of Health Psychology. Due to his expertise on adolescent sexuality, trauma exposure, and international HIV prevention, he is highly sought after as a peer reviewer and has reviewed articles for various academic journals across many disciplines. His scholarship is recognized as being one of highest cited among Black scholars in top Schools of Social Work.
Exposure to community violence, either as victims or witnesses, is a widespread and persistent problem in many of America’s urban cities. In the U.S., the number of adolescents murdered each year can fill a high school of almost 6,000 students. As alarming as these figures are, the frequency of non-fatal adolescent injuries is at least 120 times that of youth murders, and it is estimated that more than 1.2 million crimes against adolescents go unreported yearly. Exposure to community violence has been linked to mental health problems, poor academic performance, involvement with risky peer networks, and more recently, as Professor Voisin’s work has documented, engaging in unsafe sex which increases the chances of contracting HIV. Collectively, these are problems which disproportionately affect African American and Latino youths. According to research by Voisin, studies on the impact of community violence have been generally artificially compartmentalized to examine discipline-specific outcomes (e.g., mental health, education performance, delinquency, and more recently risky sex) and have not adequately considered the interrelationships among these various domains which represent a major focus of Voisin’s scholarship. Through engaged research, teaching, service, and training, Voisin is committed to illuminating the broad impact of community violence on the developmental trajectories of young persons.
Research Article: J AIDS Clin Res 2012, S1: 017
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