Gary Slutkin CeaseFire Executive Director

Dr. Gary Slutkin is a visionary leader and innovator in violence reduction. He is an American epidemiologist and the Founder/ Executive Director of CeaseFire, an innovative, scientifically proven approach that regards violence as an infectious disease. Dr. Slutkin applied lessons learned from more than a decade fighting epidemics in Africa and Asia to the creation of a public health model to reduce violence through behavior change and disease control. He is an Ashoka Fellow, a Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a senior advisor to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Slutkin spent more than a decade fighting epidemics throughout Asia and Africa, including working for the World Health Organization, where he created and led their Intervention Development Unit, which guided over 120 countries in epidemiological and program methods. He credits his WHO training and experiences abroad to educating his view of violence in terms of public health field strategy, specifically CeaseFire’s results-driven approach. His work overseas was featured in Studs Terkel’s Will the Circle be Unbroken.

In 1995, Dr. Slutkin turned his attention toward the field of violence prevention; applying data, evidence and rigorous evaluation with the hope of producing lasting solutions. His training and experience as an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization had taught him to approach problems in terms of health field strategy – what works, what produces results, what adds up to large-scale change. After five years of research and collaboration with faith leaders, community stakeholders, and law enforcement into violence prevention strategy, Dr. Slutkin helped develop the CeaseFire Model.

Dr. Slutkin is an ardent crusader of the violence prevention movement. He has shared the vision that urban violence is not an intractable problem, but one that can be slowed or stopped before numerous audiences. He was a featured speaker at the 2008 PopTech Conference (, a gathering of global innovators, thinkers, and leaders from diverse disciplines. He has also presented the CeaseFire Model at the White House Conference on Gang Violence Prevention & Crime Control and was the featured plenary speaker the 2009 National Institute of Justice Conference, the premiere forum for research and evaluation in the criminal justice field in the U.S. ( CeaseFire has also been endorsed as “best practice” for violence prevention by both the National Governors’ Association and the National League of Cities.