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Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention

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Academic Centers for Excellence: Denver Collaborative to Reduce Youth Violence Project Summary/Abstract Youth violence prevention efforts have primarily focused on single stream methods to address youth violence. This approach has yielded a number of evidence-based (EB) programs and strategies that target youth problem behaviors, implemented in a variety of settings (i.e., school, social services), with varying target populations and age groups. More limited research has examined the effects of combining single stream efforts into multi-faceted (MF) approaches to effect more pervasive community-wide outcomes. The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence proposes to develop an Academic Center of Excellence (ACE) in Denver to initiate a MF-EB approach to addressing youth violence. The proposed study will enhance the body of research associated with studies on community-wide prevention efforts and will advance our understanding of "what works" at this level of implementation. Immediate and long-term goals are to 1) reduce levels of violence among those aged 10-24 in the Montbello neighborhood, compared to the Northeast Park Hill (NEPH) neighborhood, 2) implement and evaluate a MF- EB primary prevention/intervention approach, 3) provide training for junior youth violence prevention researchers in behavioral science, public health, and adolescent medicine, 4) provide training to medical practitioners to recognize and treat youth violence, and 5) embed activities coordinated through the ACE into the existing community infrastructure of youth services to ensure sustainability after completion of the grant. The sites participating in this study are two of Denver's most high- risk residential neighborhoods. Public Safety data (2009) show that in Montbello, the overall crime rate per 1,000 people was 53.3 and the associated violent crime rate was 11.3. In NEPH, the overall crime rate per 1,000 people was 71.1 and the associated violent crime rate was 13.5. Data on hospitalizations for assault among ages 10-24 show that both communities reported an average of 10.9 hospitalizations a year over 9 years (2000-09) for their respective zip codes (the top 10% of zip codes for hospitalizations in Denver). Denver Public School data show that rates for fighting in Montbello and NEPH schools (2008-09 school year) were 81.46 and 125.03 per 1,000 students, respectively. Rates for offenses, including violent offenses, which resulted in out of school suspensions or expulsion (2009-10 school year) per 1,000 students were 122.65 in Montbello and 100.38 for NEPH. To study the effects of a MF-EB approach to prevent youth violence in a high- risk community, the project will implement an EB community-level coalition with a public health approach. School and community surveys will identify risk and protective factors. A community action plan with an MF will be developed to address priorities. Health care professionals will be trained to use a Violence Injury Protection and Risk Screen to identify youth at risk for future violence to integrate the health care setting into the model. Finally, the ACE will train medical providers and public health and behavioral science researchers in violence prevention research through a series of seminars and direct involvement in violence prevention research.
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