Violence is a substantial threat to the health of Chicagoans. In 2011, 433 people in Chicago were murdered;the number of homicides for the first 9 months of 2012 was 28% higher than the same period last year. There has been a substantial public outcry over this issue, particularly in minority communities on the South and West Sides of Chicago, which have been affected by violence at greatly disproportionate rates. Although many community organizations, researchers, and funders in Chicago are working to reduce violence and achieving laudable results, a lack of coordination and communication too frequently hampers their effectiveness and the ability to build a reliable violence prevention knowledge base. Community organizations often lack capacity for program evaluation or implementation of evidence-based approaches in local settings, researchers may lack the connections to communities needed to ensure that their work makes a meaningful difference in people's lives, and funders may not align their priorities with those of community organizations and researchers. Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY) is organized and facilitated by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children's Memorial Hospital) to address these gaps. SCY's goal is to build capacity among public and private stakeholders to connect, collaborate and mobilize around a public health approach to violence prevention-adopting consistent messages about the preventability of violence, promoting the use of evidence-based violence prevention strategies, and fostering multi-sector collaboration- leading to the increased adoption of effective, sustainable violence prevention strategies and the capacity to develop innovative, reliable approaches to violence prevention. This proposal for the Community-Academic Collaboration to Prevent Violence in Chicago builds on the strengths of SCY. The goal of the proposed project is to build capacity to develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to reduce health disparities related to violence by establishing and enhancing connections among community organizations, researchers, and local funders working to prevent violence and strengthen youth, families, and communities in Chicago. This goal will be accomplished through three specific aims: (1) Convene a conference series to conduct outreach to identify the key areas of concern and research priorities of community residents and community organizations related to violence-related disparities;(2) Through a conference series, provide health education to raise awareness among community residents and community organizations about local disparities in violent injuries, deaths, and related health outcomes and strategies to reduce disparities and address key areas of community concern;and (3) Develop a partnership with community organizations, formalized through a memorandum of understanding, and convene a series of partnership meetings to create a long-term CBPR agenda and establish a permanent infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of CBPR projects to address and eliminate health disparities related to violence.
Violence is a substantial threat to the health and safety of Chicagoans and an important contributor to racial and ethnic health disparities. Many community organizations, researchers, and funders in Chicago are working to prevent and control youth violence, but lack of coordination and communication among these stakeholders too frequently hampers their effectiveness and the ability to build a reliable violence prevention knowledge base.