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Empowering Youth to Realize Equity and Prevent Violence: Youth Violence Prevention Center-Denver

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Project Summary/Abstract Youth violence remains a significant public health challenge for structurally marginalized communities across the nation. The Youth Violence Prevention Center-Denver (YVPC-D) brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers, practitioners, community partners, and youth leaders to advance the science and practice of violence prevention by building the evidence base for community-led violence prevention strategies that mitigate the social and structural conditions influencing rates of violence. This project uses a youth-community-university partnership to build an infrastructure for violence prevention in two high-burden communities in Denver, Northeast Park Hill and Far Northeast Denver. The YVPC-D activities include: (1) Collaborating with youth and community partners to develop, implement, and evaluate three innovative violence prevention strategies (e.g., The Power of One for Youth Engagement Initiative, Violence Prevention and Interruption through Bystander Reporting and Social Media Monitoring, and Enhancing Youth Athletics and Career Development Programs); (3) Conducting a process evaluation of the three strategies to support capacity building, assess change mechanisms, and monitor implementation; (4) Conduct a formative evaluation on all three strategies and a quasi-experimental evaluation on two of the strategies; (5) Use an interrupted time series and a Difference in Difference design to examine the impacts of the combined interventions on rates of youth violence. Additionally, the YVPC-D will recruit and train youth from the intervention communities and underrepresented groups as respected and culturally competent collaborators through a Youth Advisory Council and an early career and junior researcher program. This project will build the scientific base by advancing our understanding of innovative strategies for universal, selective, and indicated prevention of youth violence. Additionally, this project seeks to challenge the current singular practice paradigm of prescribing evidence-based programs in high-burden neighborhoods to create a collaborative, practical, and culturally informed paradigm for violence prevention. A protocol will be developed that can guide future youth-community-university partnerships and projects. Success will be measured by reductions in rates of youth violence, increases in prosocial opportunities, and sustainable improvements in public health practices.
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