Building Evidence for Firearm Violence Prevention

A photo with the words "#End Gun Violence" in chalk on asphalt.
Project Dates
  • 2021-2026

Firearm injuries became the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet firearm violence has been the leading cause of death for Black youth for nearly two decades. Despite persistent disparities, few interventions address root causes, including racism and disinvestment. The Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center (MI-YVPC) is working to change this.

In collaboration with our community partners, our Center will implement two research strategies to advance youth firearm violence prevention in two communities: Muskegon, MI, and Washington, D.C. While these communities differ in size and context, they share a history of segregation and economic inequality. As a result, both communities are now experiencing elevated levels of youth firearm violence.

Our research strategies are community-driven and youth-led, with support and direction from Youth and Community Advisory Boards. Our center also includes a Training Core to develop a pipeline of diverse scholars and practitioners to advance more equitable and responsive youth firearm violence prevention.

A map of the MI-YVPC core project cities for 2021-2026. Muskegon, MI and Washington, DC.

To learn more about the project sites, please visit the Where We Work page.

Addressing Root Causes for Gun Violence Prevention (ARC-GVP)

Through this strategy, we will evaluate and build capacity for grassroots, youth-driven interventions to prevent firearm violence in Muskegon, MI, and Washington, D.C. The programs we are evaluating engage youth in employment, social and emotional learning, and civic 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, D.C. together in learning exchanges to plan collaborative prevention campaigns.

The goals of this strategy are to:

  • Work closely with grassroots prevention programs in Muskegon, MI, and Washington, D.C. to improve the quality of program delivery, increase operations capacity, and formalize curricula to support their use in other communities.
  • Create co-learning opportunities for youth leaders to plan and implement shared action strategies to address the root causes of firearm violence.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of grassroots programs on individual youth and community-level violence 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)

Multi-Site Implementation Trial of SafERteens

SafERteens is a brief, evidence-based youth violence prevention for youth aged 14-20 who have been admitted to the emergency department and have recently been in a fight. The intervention consists of a single counseling session that combines Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Through this session, youth learn to recognize violent behaviors and develop skills in conflict resolution, violence avoidance, and safety behaviors. Through this strategy, we will test engagement strategies to encourage sustained implementation of SafERteens by health care providers (i.e., nurses, social workers) in Muskegon, MI while examining its effects on youth firearm violence at the community level.

The goals of this strategy are to:

  • Implement SafERteens across multiple clinical settings and examine associated implementation outcomes.
  • Test health care provider engagement strategies to increase and sustain the reach of SafERteens.
  • Examine the effects of implementing SafERteens across multiple healthcare settings for reducing community violence and youth firearm violence specifically.

Key Partners: Trinity Health Emergency Department, Trinity Health Primary Care Network, Trinity Health Medical Group, Academic Family Medicine-Fruitport, Hackley Community Care, Muskegon Pediatrics, HealthWest

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