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ACE Center Descriptions: Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University
PI: Philip Leaf, Ph.D.


The Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence (JHCPYV) has been established since 2005. The Center will build on its mission to prevent youth violence and promote positive youth development in Baltimore City. Utilizing a community-based participatory research approach, the Center has excelled in creating academic-community collaborations that extend, evaluate, and improve efforts to: 1) monitor and detect fatal and non-fatal youth violence; 2) conduct research aimed at identifying malleable factors related to youth violence and research on interventions that reduce youth violence and associated morbidity and mortality; and 3) create policies and practices that prevent youth violence.

With funding from CDC, JHCPYV plans to collaborate with community organizations and residents in the Lower Park Heights community in Baltimore to employ a multi-sectoral, public health framework to understand and prevent youth violence. Baltimore consistently has one of the nation’s highest murder rates. In 2009, Baltimore had the fifth highest murder rate in the nation. These rates are particularly high for youth ages 10–24; from 1999 to 2007 the average annual homicide rates for youth 10–14 (6.6/100,000), 15–19 (89.8/100,000), and 20–24 (126.9/100,000) years old in Baltimore exceeded the national rate for these age groups by severalfold (1.05/100,000 for 10–14 year olds, 9.79/100,000 for 15–19 year olds, and 16.07 for 20–24 year olds). The potential for significant school failure and concerns about school safety have also been raised. A recent survey in Baltimore schools found that 35% of students did not feel safe at their school. Lower Park Heights was chosen as an intervention community based on its significant youth violence problems.

JHCPYC, with its partners, will implement and evaluate several community and school-based prevention programs to prevent violence and bullying and to promote safe and supportive environments.

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