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Conference: Chicago Stories, City Violence

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August 28, 2009 | by Marla Paul

CHICAGO --- Best-selling author Alex Kotlowitz will unveil the results of his investigation into the roots of urban violence during a keynote address at a free one-day conference called “Chicago Stories: Violence and the Ethics of Urban Health Care.”

The conference, open to the public, will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Kotlowitz’s keynote address will kick off the event in the Hughes Auditorium of the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 E. Superior, Chicago.

Author of the ground-breaking book, “There Are No Children Here,” Kotlowitz is the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Visiting Professor. His research has been funded by the Greenwall Foundation. 

“Chicago Stories” will bring together academic experts and neighborhood activists to discuss city violence -- the problems and potential solutions. 

Chicago’s recent epidemic of violence is more deadly than swine flu but fails to provoke the same urgent response, conference panelist Michelle Gittler, M.D., of Chicago's Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, said earlier this month on CNN.  

Other conference highlights:

At noon, movie clips will be shown from "Legacy", Chicagoan Tod Lending’s film about violence on the West Side. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 2001.

At 1 p.m., scholar Dorothy Roberts will give a second keynote address, “Race, Gender, and the Causes of Urban Violence: Are We Looking in the Right Places?" Roberts is the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law and African-American Studies and Sociology at Northwestern University School of Law. 

In the morning and afternoon, three panels of experts and neighborhood activists will discuss the health effects of violence that ripple through communities, the broken systems that attempt to address these effects and the reasons we haven’t done more to eliminate urban violence. The audience will be invited to comment, and Kotlowitz will share his reaction after each panel. The panels will be held at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

Although the conference is free and open to the public, registration is required. A $5 box lunch can be reserved, and $10 parking passes are available. To register and for a description of each panel discussion, visit www.bioethics.northwestern.edu/ChicagoStories/ or call (312) 503-7962.