Firearms are the leading mechanism of death among youths aged 10 to 24 in the United States. Firearm fatalities disproportionately affect Non-Hispanic Black youth at a rate 17.5% higher than their white counterparts. Since 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has funded five Youth Violence Prevention Centers to address youth violence in the United States. A recent study featuring PISC Past Trainee and Senior Scholar Bernadette Hohl, PhD, describes the impact of existing Youth Violence Prevention Centers in reducing firearm fatalities.
Youth Violence Prevention Centers focus on sustainable community partnerships. They enact evidence-based prevention strategies, such as rehabilitation of vacant lots. Furthermore, YVPCs partner with healthcare providers across multiple settings, identifying at-risk youth and staging interventions. To combat existing racial disparities, YVPCs combat structural inequities such as school climate, community violence, and public perceptions of youth violence. Federal funding is essential to the work that Youth Violence Prevention Centers do. Firearm violence prevention receives significantly less funding relative to other violence-injury death mechanisms, such as automobile accidents. The study concludes, “The work of the YVPCs is an example of what can be done with funding from federal sources, yet it provides only a starting point from which to staunch the high rate of firearm violence.”