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Meet Christian Mpody: Fulbright Scholar and MPH Student

Christian Mpody in Denver before meeting with the gun violence prevention group Colorado Ceasefire.

Christian Mpody in Denver before meeting with the gun violence prevention group Colorado Ceasefire.

Christian Mpody (left) with fellow travelors aboard the Millennial Train.

Christian Mpody (left) with fellow travelors aboard the Millennial Train.

Christian Mpody with Tom Mauser, board member of Colorado Ceasefire in Denver, CO.

Christian Mpody with Tom Mauser, board member of Colorado Ceasefire in Denver, CO.

Christian Mpody is a physician, public health professional, and Fulbright Scholar pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Dr. Mpody is also a research assistant at the UA Respiratory Center. Prior to his current graduate studies at the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health, Dr. Mpody was the senior physician for a nonprofit organization in Togo West Africa that worked to lower the cost of health care services for the community.

In a blog post for the Fulbright website, Dr. Mpody writes about his research focus on the crisis of gun violence in America.

“I’ve heard debates about whether only individuals should be blamed for gun violence, or if the gun industry and the government should be blamed instead. It appears to me that the answer to the issue lies more in value judgments and advocacy than in scientific evidence. In other words, epidemiological evidence has not been the absolute foundation upon which changes have been implemented. When I write that, I remember a mentor who once said, “science pursues truth whereas practice pursues values.”

Last summer Dr. Mpody was selected to join the 2016 Millennial Trains Project (MTP), giving him the opportunity to gain a trans-regional perspective on gun violence prevention programs in five different cities.

MTP is a non-profit that leads crowd-funded transcontinental train journeys for diverse groups of young people to explore America’s new frontiers, grow as leaders, and launch projects that benefit and inspire their communities. MTP participants come from every corner of the world and use the journey to advance important, creative projects that directly relate to the defining issues of our time.

Dr. Mpody was part of a group of 25 millennials on the “Unity” leg of the MTP (Aug 10-18, 2016) to focus on making the world a better place through entrepreneurship and innovation. Their journey took them from Los Angeles to Detroit with stops along the way in San Francisco, Denver and Milwaukee

Over the course of nine days, Dr. Mpody was able to meet with representatives from the Coalition for Gun Violence Prevention in Los Angeles, the Law Center for Gun Violence Prevention in San Francisco, Colorado Ceasefire in Denver, and the Deputy Director of the Public Policy Institute of Community Advocates in Milwaukee.

Dr. Mpody’s research project aims to create multi-level interventions that engage and unify millennials to influence sustainable changes in their community for gun violence prevention and challenge them to work with their elected leaders. At each MTP stop, he met with local representatives of preventive organizations to learn best practices to educate communities and policy-makers. From this trans-regional perspective on gun violence prevention, Dr. Mpody wants to develop a guide for advocacy at individual, interpersonal, community, and policy levels. The focus is not to debate gun rights, but to promote and protect the safety of the population, regardless of the number of firearms.

“When you talk about gun violence prevention you are labeled by political bias. Everybody is afraid to talk about this issue because it’s so politically charged. But I think gun violence is a public safety issue. Like smoking and sexual abuse, we should talk about this,” Dr. Mpody said.

Dr. Mpody is vice president of the Arizona Chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society and think tank member of the American Journal of Public Health.  

The University of Arizona