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Community Violence Prevention Initiative

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $640,000)



In 2018, Advocate Health Care (Advocate) and UChicago Medicine (UCM) responded to a call to action from Chicago HEAL (Hospital, Engagement, Action and Leadership), a working group convened by Senator Dick Durbin to reduce gun violence and heal the physical and mental trauma of individuals and communities. With a focus on Chicago’s South Side, Advocate and UCM formed the Southland RISE (Resilience Initiative to Strengthen and Empower) partnership. The mission of Southland RISE is to build community and improve outcomes through communication, collaboration, and coordination of systems to heal and develop resilient individuals, families, and communities who have experienced or have been exposed to violence.


The support from the Byrne Discretionay grant in the amount of $640,000 is to develop a partnership approach, collectively named the Community Engagement for Violence Prevention and Intervention (CEVPI), to advance a community-engaged/community-driven collaborative assessment and planning process. Through this process the partnership will:


Identify community assets to understand the resources, relationships, and structures within these communities to foster resilience and bring change;
Identify the community-specific conditions or characteristics that increase the likelihood that violence will occur (risk factors); and
Identify the community-specific conditions or characteristics that are protective even in the presence of risk factors, thus reducing the likelihood of violence (resilience factors).

Our high-level goal is to understand the social, environmental, and economic conditions that impact violence and to develop and implement community level strategies to prevent it. From this work we will produce a community-informed service delivery plan.

Targeted Community Areas

The partnering health systems, Advocate and UCM, are committed to community-engaged/community- driven collaborative assessment and planning to benefit the populations living and working in their collective service areas. Our assessment and planning focus will be seven zip codes- (60619, 60620, 60621, 60628, 60636, 60637,60649).


Community Partnerships

The proposed assessment and planning process will involve extensive engagement of community stakeholders to identify and assess key issues related to violence in the priority zip codes. Advocate and UCM’s role will be to convene and facilitate collaboration among community members and across sectors in efforts to collect, curate and interpret the data regarding community risk and resilience factors. Our charge is to develop a plan to address and prevent violence that represents authentic community perspectives.

Through the lens of violence prevention, we aim to engage community organizations and other stakeholders in a meaningful and relevant assessment process. The qualitative and quantitative data, guided by community insights, will then be translated into a stakeholder-driven action plan that reflects community priorities and addresses the specific underpinnings of violence and trauma.


We expect to leverage our strong ties with 26 community organizations established through the Southland RISE collaborative, to reach, recruit, prepare and engage community members in an active assessment and planning process. We will promote a Community Partner subaward opportunity to recruit participant organizations. Once engaged, nine (9) community partners will forge an MOU with Advocate to lead this work. Our objective is for the nine trusted community partners to engage at least one organization in each of the priority zips. Each partner will be allocated a stipend of $20,000 to carry out the project and approach, recruit community members to respond to youth and community surveys and community focus groups and facilitate dissemination of results.


To advance this vision, we will hire a dedicated Project Manager and a seasoned Community Organizer who will be positioned and equipped to establish and strengthen partnerships with community- based/community-led organizations. The Project Manager will develop the operating structure for assessment and planning, including equitable allocation and management of subawards (stipends) to community organizations in recognition of their pivotal role as promoters, recruiters, facilitators, and disseminators of assessment activities. The Community Organizer will serve as an essential resource, identifying prospective community partners and promoting opportunities for stakeholder engagement. The Organizer will have an ear to the ground to understand the unique factors influencing participation. Once in place, these two staff will assess the need for community training to orient constituents to the project purpose and channels for participation, and to prepare them to make decisions about the process, priorities, and plan. These key staff will ensure a balance of perspectives and cultivate trust and a sense of ownership among community participants.


Additionally, a Data Analyst will be contracted to develop the contact management system and to collect, manage, interpret, and report key and relevant data for this project.


The project will be anchored by Advocate’s Director of Trauma Recovery and Resilience, Director of Advocate Trauma Recovery Center, Kim Miiller, PsyD. Dr. Miiller will be responsible for co-leading major activities in partnership with a TBD Co-Director from UCM and will supervise the Project Manager, Community Organizer, Data Analyst, and the Prevention Institute. This matrix reporting structure will ensure communication and accountability for project success.


Other Key Partners- Prevention Institute

The proposed assessment process will leverage the national expertise of the Prevention Institute (PI) as a facilitator and technical advisor. Prevention Institute is a nonprofit, national center dedicated to improving community health and well-being by building momentum for effective primary prevention. PI’s work has informed several efforts nationally and internationally, including the World Health Organization, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Academy of Medicine. PI supports communities, both nationally and locally with tools and frameworks to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive prevention initiatives with effective multi-sector partnerships and coalitions.



Our questions will be specifically designed to focus on three basic domains:

What are the primary issues that are causing violence in the community?
What are the major barriers that are keeping the community from being peaceful and safe?
What actions do you think the community can take to address those issues?


The Community Organizer will connect with the eight identified community partners to conduct the surveys, interviews, and focus groups. These will be people with existing, strong relationships in the priority zip codes and are already trusted within the community. Community partners and their constituents will provide critical insights into the development of survey tools and focus group questions. Through this process, we will seek to determine which factors within the community contribute to the risk or promote the resilience of the community as it specifically relates to violence.

A public health approach will be the foundation of the planning process. This approach focuses on preventing violence before it occurs, while also acknowledging the need for balance of efforts to mitigate the impact of violence after it has occurred (e.g. mentoring, mental health services, family support services, conflict resolution, mediation and interruption and restorative justice programs) and reduce the likelihood of future violence (e.g. mental health services, reentry programs).

Community input on the vision, principles, and risk and resilience factors will be solicited through community conversations, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. This input will help serve as the foundation for the development of a strategic plan to reach the relevant goals.


The focus of this proposed assessment is to evaluate the need for services around violence prevention, a CEVPI Program Priority. While there is a plethora of data discussing the impacts of violence, we cannot meet the needs of the children, youth, families and communities impacted by violence and trauma without eliciting quantitative and qualitative community input to identify priorities.

The proposed assessment will supplement available quantitative data with community expertise and insight. More specifically, we plan to:

collect information through focused youth and adult information surveys, community forums, as well as individual and group interviews with stakeholders who have firsthand knowledge of the needs in their community.
prioritize input from community organizations that are run by and serve the priority neighborhoods, including schools, faith-based organizations, community health centers, grassroots and social service organizations that serve these communities.
map existing healthcare, grassroots, social service, faith, business, and other community assets.
provide a 360-degree view of existing community assets, needs, and community specific risk and resilience factors to map out the types of long-term efforts that are needed to prevent and reduce violence and promote community healing and resilience.

Date Created: July 26, 2022