Awarded Cooperative Agreement for Youth Violence Prevention
The proposed NC Rural Academic Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention (NC- ACE) is a multidisciplinary, collaborative initiative between the UNC-CH School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families (JIF), the UNC-CH Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC), and community partners in Robeson County such as the Robeson County Health Department and the Center for Community Action. NC-ACE will have an Administrative Core, led by Dr. Paul Smokowski, an Implementation and Evaluation Core led by Reverend Mac Legerton, Drs. Natasha Bowen, Martica Bacallao, Shenyang Guo, and Dean Duncan, and a Training Core led by Drs. Kathleen Rounds, Gary Nelson, and Ms. Karen Moore. The specific objective of this NC- ACE is to reduce youth violence in Robeson County, North Carolina by implementing and evaluating a multifaceted, evidence-based approach to prevent perpetration of youth violence. In Year 1, we will engage in a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) planning process in Robeson County, NC. The CBPR planning process will use profiles of risk and protective factors collected from 3,000 middle school aged students using the School Success Profile, a social environmental assessment, to guide the choice of violence prevention program components. A Community Prevention Board, consisting of NC-ACE faculty and community partners, will examine profiles of risk and protective factors and choose evidence-based individual, relationship, and community prevention programs to meet community needs. In Years 2, 3, and 4, we will implement and evaluate a youth violence initiative with universal and targeted components for middle school aged youth in Robeson County. During Year 5, we will complete a comprehensive evaluation of the prevention initiative that considers county and school-level youth violence outcomes, as well as changes in proximal individual and school risk and protective factors. Beginning in Year 1 and annually thereafter, we will collect school-level and county level administrative data on youth violence outcomes in Robeson County, in matched comparison schools in similar rural counties, and in counties throughout North Carolina. We will also collect and analyze individual level data on risk factors, assets, and conduct problems from adolescent surveys. Each level of data – county, school, and individual level – has its own research design and analysis strategy. We will also work with Robeson County practitioners to maximize sustainability during Year 5. Along with this program implementation and evaluation, we will provide new training experiences for doctoral students and junior investigators in youth violence prevention.