NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Thurman Barnes has been appointed as the assistant director of the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research, and associate professor in the department of urban-global public health at the Rutgers School of Public Health.  He will start his new role at Rutgers later this month.  

Barnes, previously served as the director of policy and external affairs for the department of community affairs for the State of New Jersey, and brings in-depth knowledge of the state’s government and legislative processes.

“His role as assistant director of the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research will include helping to develop and implement the center’s vision,” said Mike Anestis, the center’s incoming executive director. “Thurman will serve in a variety of roles, representing the center publicly along with helping in the development and maintenance of relationships with a variety of stakeholders.”

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Barnes comes with experience in directing campaigns to affect public policy, regulatory, and legislative outcomes that align with predetermined goals. He has been instrumental in assisting in passing major legislation and developed an external affairs strategy to optimize success. Barnes acted as a liaison with the Governor’s Office, Legislature, local elected officials, and all other state departments. As an adviser to the lieutenant governor on budgetary related issues, Barnes supported low-income New Jersey residents through a grant process for non-profits and community partners. 

“I am excited to join the New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research team,” said Barnes. “I look forward to working to expand and grow the reputation of the center with statewide stakeholders and elected officials on all levels of government. External relationships will be critical to our ability to translate our research on interpersonal violence and suicide into meaningful policies that will impact communities.”

The center – which is housed at the Rutgers School of Public Health - is among the first state-funded gun violence research centers in the United States that conducts interdisciplinary research on the causes, consequences, and solutions to gun-related violence, while respecting the rights of legal, safe gun ownership, and use. The center works in collaboration with and is supported by the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE).