Intro: Thousands of young people are affected by youth violence each day. Approximately 12 young people are victims of homicide each day and emergency departments treat 1,374 youth daily for nonfatal assault-related injuries (CDC 2016). In Chicago, IL youth violence and violence prevention is a public health priority. Since 2006, 47% of homicides victims were less than 25 years old (CDPH 2016). In 2014 homicides were the number one killer of youth ages 15 to 24 in Chicago. Compounding these death rates is Chicago’s segregation and discriminatory policing practices, as homicide rates are much higher in the West Side and South Side communities of Chicago, disproportionally affecting youth and families of color. In response to these staggering rates of violence, federal, state, academic, medical, behavioral health, and community agencies have launched responses to address violence and the impact of violence in Chicago. These responses vary greatly, with the federal government threatening use of military force to combat violence in Chicago to grassroots, community-led movements. In this poster, we describe a model partnership for violence prevention in Chicago.
Methods: Bright Star Community Outreach (BSCO) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that serves the Bronzeville community located on the south side of Chicago. BSCO’s mission is to empower residents to share the responsibility of building community through resource development and collaborative partnerships. To carry out its mission around trauma-informed services and violence prevention, BSCO engaged multiple organizations and community stakeholders, including researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. This community-research partnership obtained funding from the CDC to implement and evaluate the delivery of Communities That Care (CTC) PLUS in Bronzeville, the first implementation of CTC PLUS in a major metropolitan city. Over the course of four years, BSCO leadership and other community stakeholders have guided the research team to make community-responsive modifications to the CTC PLUS prevention system and identify the best strategies to embed prevention science principles in BSCO’s infrastructure. A major effort of this partnership includes building the evidence of BSCO-grown violence prevention programs, in addition to adding evidence-based programs to their organization and the larger community.
Discussion: The research teams involved in this partnership aligned themselves with BSCO’s mission, creating an agenda responsive to the community needs identified by BSCO, successfully building a partnership that brings prevention science into the Greater Bronzeville community. We discuss lessons learned and principles for replicating this partnership model.