Christopher St. Vil

In Funded Scholars


St. Vil

Assistant Professor
The University of Buffalo

Professional Bio

Christopher St. Vil is an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.  He received his PhD from Howard University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park, African American Studies Program where he conducted qualitative research on black men who experienced violent injury. Dr. St. Vil’s research agenda addresses factors that lead to the increased likelihood of victimization with a focus on black men from marginalized communities and explore ways to mitigate those factors.

Project Description

Trauma recidivists are patients who present to an emergency room or trauma center on more than one occasion for different incidents of traumatic injury, and they are viewed as a major public health problem because nonfatal violent injury accounts for substantial health care costs. Not only do trauma recidivists incur costs to society through repeat hospitalizations (trauma recidivists are more likely to be uninsured in comparison to non-trauma recidivists and the general population), but they are also more likely to experience postoperative complications, which are also associated with a substantial increase in health care costs. Average hospital costs for trauma recidivists range between $14,981 and $16,426 per visit to a trauma center. In addition to societal costs incurred through use of emergency room and trauma services, coupled with a lack of insurance, trauma recidivists are a vulnerable population that experience enormous health disparities when compared to the general population. Their repeat victimization places them at increased risk for morbidity, mortality, and disability when compared to the general population.

Although initially focused on young male victims of violent injury presenting to urban trauma centers, researchers have now begun to explore trauma recidivism among other age groups, such as infants and the elderly, and in different contexts. This has resulted in a small but growing body of literature that is diverse and inconsistent. Although a major public health issue, there has not yet been a systemic review of the literature that synthesizes our understanding of correlates of trauma recidivism. Therefore, this RWJF proposed study seeks to conduct a systemic review of the published trauma recidivism literature to 1) identify factors associated with trauma recidivism among different groups, 2) develop a narrative synthesis of findings on study designs, methods, and outcomes, and 3) suggest directions for future research.

Why did you apply to New Connections

A senior colleague of mine is a New Connections grantee, and he would often highlight the benefits of being associated with the RWJF.  When I began to peruse the New Connections website myself, I became enamored by the focus of the RWJF around health and the amazing work that was being done by the previous junior investigators.  I began to see the overlap between my interests and advancing a culture of health among black men, and I knew I wanted to be connected to a network that overwhelmingly focused on health disparities.

Research Interests

St. Vil’s current research focuses on trauma and the experiences of victims of violent injury. He was co-investigator on a research study at the Prince George’s Hospital Center Trauma Unit in Prince George’s County, Maryland, examining violence and trauma among young black male victims of violent injury. His research interests also include masculinity and health, violence and trauma, cross-cohort socialization, idleness, and risk-taking attitudes.


Richardson, J., St. Vil, C., Sharpe, T., Wagner, M., & Cooper, C.  (2016). Risk factors for re-current violent injury among black men.  Journal of Surgical Research, 204, 261-266.

Richardson, J., St. Vil, C., Wish, E., & Cooper, C. (2016).  On Papers:  Perceptions of synthetic cannabinoid use among Black males under criminal justice supervision.  Health & Justice,4(1), doi: 10.1186/s40352-016-0032-z.

Richardson, J., St. Vil, C., & Cooper, C.  (2015). Who shot ya?  How emergency departments can collect reliable police shooting data.  Journal of Urban Health:  Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, doi: 10.1007/s11524-015-0008-7.

Richardson, J., & St. Vil, C. (2015). “Putting in Work: Black male youth joblessness, violence, crime and the code of the street.”  Spectrum, 3(2), 71-98.

Richardson, J., & St. Vil, C. (2015). Rolling dolo: The code of the street and how inner-city youth negotiate violence in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ethnography, doi: 10.1177/1466138115609624.

Richardson, J. B., Van Brakle, M., & St. Vil, C. (2014).  Taking boys out of the hood:  Exile as a parenting strategy for African American male youth.  In K. Roy & N. Jones (Eds.).  Pathways to adulthood for disconnected young men in low-income communities.  New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 143, 11-31.

Richardson, J., Johnson, W., & St. Vil, C. (2014). I want him locked up: Juvenile confinement as a parenting strategy for pre-delinquent African-American male youth. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 43(4), 488-522.

St. Vil, C., Richardson, J., & Cooper, C. (Accepted).  Method to the Madness:  Methodological considerations for research with black male victims of violent injury in an urban trauma unit.  Submitted to Violence and Victims.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Strengthening Integration of Health Services and Systems
  • Project Name: Trauma Recidivism/Re-Current Violent Injury:  A Systematic Review

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