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ACE Center Descriptions: University of Colorado

University of Colorado, Boulder
PI: Delbert Elliott, Ph.D.


The Denver Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) is a collaborative between the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado School of Medicine and numerous community organizations, including the Denver Public Schools and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Denver ACE has five main goals: 1) reduce levels of youth violence among youth ages 10–24 in Montbello, CO compared to a comparison site; 2) implement and evaluate a multi-faceted, evidence-based primary prevention/intervention approach within the Montbello community; 3) provide training activities for junior youth violence prevention researchers in the fields of behavioral science, public health, and adolescent medicine; 4) provide training to medical practitioners enabling them to recognize and treat youth violence; and 5) embed activities coordinated by the ACE into the existing community infrastructure of youth services to ensure sustainability.

The Denver ACE plans to implement the Communities That Care system in the Montbello community in Denver, Colorado. In 2009 the overall crime rate in Montbello was 53.3/1,000 residents, and within the school system the fighting rate was 81.5/1,000 students in the 2008–2009 school year. The rate for all school-related offenses in Montbello in the 2009-2010 school year was 122.65/1,000 students.

The Communities That Care system is a strategic planning mechanism that builds upon a concept of first identifying and then targeting risk factors for violence across multiple domains in a given community. The CTC system is designed to guide the prevention efforts of a community through a five-stage process: 1) assessing readiness to undertake collaborative prevention efforts; 2) obtaining commitment to the CTC process from community leaders and forming a prevention coalition; 3) using data to assess prevention needs; 4) choosing tested and effective prevention policies, practices, and programs; and 5) implementing and evaluating efforts.

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