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National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention

Group of teensYouth violence is a major public health issue for both individuals and communities. Each year, more than 5,000 youths between the ages of 15 and 24 die by homicide, making homicide the second leading cause of death for this age group. CDC's Division of Violence Prevention funds six National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention (formerly, Academic Centers of Excellence):

  • University of Chicago
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Colorado at Boulder

From 2010 to 2015 the National Centers of Excellence will work to reduce youth violence in one defined high–risk community by implementing and evaluating a comprehensive strategy to prevent youth violence. The Centers are expected to engage in collaborations among researchers and local organizations (including the local health department) and a defined high-risk community, with the common goal of reducing youth violence. Centers will consist of 3 core features:

  • A core administrative infrastructure to support implementation and evaluation activities, to foster necessary collaborations, and to work together as a Youth Violence Prevention Network
  • Integrated implementation and evaluation activities focused on a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to youth violence prevention
  • Integrated training activities for junior and future researchers in youth violence prevention to complement the implementation and evaluation activities of the Center

Key characteristics of the 2010-2015 National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention:

  • Required collaboration with a local Health Department, to build the local public health infrastructure and capacity for violence prevention
  • An emphasis on implementing and evaluating a coordinated set of strategies for violence prevention, with the central goal of demonstrating impact on reducing youth violence in the defined community
  • A requirement to measure impact on youth violence within the defined community, to evaluate the impact of the Centers' comprehensive youth violence prevention strategy on community rates of violence

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