A photo with the words "#End Gun Violence" in chalk on asphalt.

Building Evidence for Gun Violence Prevention

Principal InvestigatorSchool of Public Health Co-InvestigatorsProject Manager
Project Dates
  • 2021-2026

Firearm violence is the second leading cause of death for children and adolescents under 18 years old and the leading cause of death for African American youth. Yet few interventions work at community or structural levels to address root causes of firearm violence like racial disparities and economic disinvestment. The Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center (MI-YVPC) aims to change that.

The MI-YVPC is a partnership between the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Michigan Medicine, and community-based organizations in Muskegon, MI, and Washington, DC. The Center and its partners will implement two research strategies to advance youth firearm injury prevention in two communities at heightened risk for gun violence: Muskegon, MI, and Washington, DC While these locations differ in context, they share a history of segregation, disinvestment, and economic inequality and are experiencing rising youth firearm violence and homicide.

Our research strategies are community-driven and youth-led, with support and direction from Youth and Community Advisory Boards. Our center will also include a Training Core to develop a pipeline of diverse scholars to advance the field of youth firearm injury prevention research.

To learn more about the project sites, please visit the MI-YVPC Communities page.

Research Strategy 1: Multi-Site Implementation Trial of SafERteens.

SafERteens is a brief motivational interviewing intervention for teens seeking medical care that has been identified as an evidence-based practice for youth violence prevention. Our first research strategy will test provider engagement strategies to encourage sustained implementation of SafERteens by health care providers in Muskegon and Grand Rapids, MI while examining its effects on a new outcome: youth firearm violence prevention.

The goals of this strategy are to:

  • Implement SafERteens across multiple clinical settings and examine associated implementation outcomes.
  • Determine the efficacy of pairing implementation strategies with health care provider (i.e., nurses, social workers) engagement strategies to increase and sustain the reach of SafERteens.
  • Examine the cumulative effect of implementing SafERteens across multiple healthcare settings for reducing community violence and gun violence outcomes.

Key Partners: Mercy Health and DeVos Emergency Departments, Mercy Health Primary Care Network, Fruitport Family Medicine Clinic, Hackley Community Care, Muskegon Pediatrics, HealthWest, MyAlliance System of Care

Research Strategy 2: Addressing Root Causes for Gun Violence Prevention (ARC-GVP)

Our second research strategy will evaluate grassroots youth-driven interventions to prevent gun violence in Muskegon, MI, and Washington, DC The programs we are evaluating engage youth in employment, social and emotional learning, and civic learning and leadership to raise awareness of the root causes of firearm violence in their communities. This strategy will also bring youth from Muskegon, MI, and Washington, DC together in learning exchanges to plan collaborative prevention campaigns.

The goals of this strategy are to:

  • Conduct rigorous process evaluations of grassroots prevention programs in Muskegon, MI, and Washington, DC to improve the quality of program implementation and build capacity for sustainability and applicability.
  • Create co-learning opportunities for youth and community leaders to plan and implement shared action strategies to address the root causes of gun violence in their communities.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of ARC-GVP strategies on individual youth and community-level outcomes.

Create an implementation toolkit for replication of ARC-GVP strategies in multiple communities.

Key Partners: The True Reasons I Grabbed the Gun Evolved from Risks Project (T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project), Gaining Unity through Non-Violent Solutions (G.U.N.S)