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MI Youth Violence Prevention Center

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Marc A. Zimmerman, Cleopatra Howard Caldwell, Daniel J. Kruger, Rebecca Cunningham, Alison Leslie Miller, Maureen A. Walton, Thomas M. Reischl, Susan Morrel-Samuels

The Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center (MI-YVPC) will focus on reducing violence and victimization among 10-24 year olds in a geographically defined area of Flint, Michigan. In 2008 the homicide rate in Flint was 28.2, over 5 times that of the rate for MI and the nation. Rates of forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assaults similarly elevated. The census tracts where our intervention will be focused are crime ?hot spots? within the city. The goals of MI-YVPC are to: 1) establish sustainable partnership for youth violence prevention, led by the Genesee County Health Department with other key stakeholders; 2) test the effectiveness of a multi-level youth violence prevention strategy using a two pronged quasi-experimental design which examines the radiating effects of a violence prevention strategy on surrounding areas; 3) reduce violence and intentional injury among 10-24 year olds, enhance social relationships, and improve neighborhood properties in a discreet geographic location; 4) develop a training program for youth violence prevention for MD residents, graduate and undergraduate students at the UM Ann Arbor and Flint campuses; and 5) disseminate our results to local, state, national, and international audiences. Drawing from both social-ecological and criminal justice approaches, MI-YVPC will carry out a constellation of interventions that address adolescents in the contexts of their families, social networks and the larger community. We will collaborate with the local health department, health service providers, grass roots organizations, and law enforcement to implement a strategy that encompasses both universal and high risk populations. Our intervention strategy consists of six components: 1) Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) which engages youth and adults in carrying out community change projects; 2) Fathers and Sons, which builds stronger connections between young adolescents and their fathers; 3) Emergency Department Brief Intervention, which provides counseling to adolescents who present in the ED with an intentional injury or history of aggression; 4) Mentoring for adolescents adjudicated in family court; 5) Clean and Green, which partners with neighborhood organizations to reclaim vacant properties; and 6) Community policing training and TA. We will evaluate the effects of this strategy using spatial analysis of crime incidents, community survey data, and hospital injury data comparing the intervention neighborhood with all other neighborhoods across the city. We will also compare the intervention area to a comparison area with similar characteristics. We will conduct a process evaluation of the component programs to assure their intended effects are realized and an overall evaluation of the Center.

Funding Period: 09/30/2010 to 09/29/2015

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