Violence Prevention Initiative

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The Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI)

Welcome to the Violence Prevention Initiative website!

The Medical College of Wisconsin Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program invests in VPI to prevent child violence, to influence and motivate teens in peacemaking, and to develop community capacity to end violence in Milwaukee. Four community partner agencies, two dozen other community and academic organizations, youth leaders, parents, and neighborhood residents collaborate in evidence-based programs to achieve these aims. On our website, you will find a calendar of violence prevention community events, other opportunities for engagement and action, newsletters, research and evaluation reports, and presentations. We encourage you to sign up for our email list serve and to contact our staff with questions or suggestions. Join us in transforming Milwaukee to a healthier, violence-free city!



John Meurer, MD, MBA

VPI Principal Investigator and

Professor and Director of the Institute for Health and Society

Medical College of Wisconsin


The Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) is focused on reducing youth violence in Milwaukee neighborhoods. The work of the VPI is completed by community and academic partners, who together are implementing the initiative based on best-practice and evidence-based models. The approach of the VPI includes positive youth and family development programming aimed at preventing violence before it occurs, as well as building greater capacity throughout the community to prevent future violence.

Read about the current VPI Partnership Teams:

Holton Youth and Family Center Collaborative

UNCOM Violence Prevention Initiative

Ripple Effect Milwaukee: Spreading Peace and Building Communities (REM)

Safe Schools Healthy Students Lindsay Heights Initiative


Learn more about the VPI and its work, by visiting our resources section.

Stay informed by reading our newsletter.

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VPI Events


VPI Partner Running Rebels Founder Victor Barnett Hononored at Rufus King/Riverside Scholarship Game

Congratulations to Running Rebels Community Organization, founder Victor Barnett in being presented the "Kamonie Slade 2014 Spirit of the Game Award" this past Saturday at the Rufus King/Riverside Annual Scholarship Game. The award is presented in recognition of continued participation and contribution to Milwaukee Public Schools.

Victor Barnett Sr. & Jr.

The VPI and community partner, Safe and Sound, hosted the Youth Voices stage and the youth march at the celebration. The Youth Voices stage showcased local youth singing, dancing, and performing poetry to promote peace and provide positive non-violent messaging. VPI staff also hosted a booth to dispense information about the Initiative and our partners, promoted our VPI Facebook page and gave away brochures with free summer family events in Milwaukee. The day showcased the community coming together in celebration of Milwaukee's rich cultural heritage.


VPI Staff Participate in "unlucky 13" Campaign Addressing Human Trafficking

On June 24, VPI Program Coordinators John Rakowski and Elizabeth Heimerl attended a "Flash Mob" and press conference aimed at calling attention to human sex trafficking in Milwaukee. The event, organized by the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee (HTTFGM), highlighted the new campaign, "Unlucky 13", which is hoping to bring education and awareness to the city.

The HTTFGM teamed up with Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Health Department, Clear Channel and Serve Marketing, to spread the message. The campaign will feature the image of "13" with a child's face superimposed, and will appear on 60 bus shelters and billboards throughout the city. Thirteen is the average age of a child who is trafficked for sex.


Milwaukee Youths Can Help Prevent Gun Violence

People march in April as part of The Bridge Project, a movement to stop violence in Milwaukee.

Please click the title link regarding this article regarding youth and gun violence.   

VPI Calendar 

August  2014


August 2nd - Journey House Strong Inside Tour

August 6th - Clergy Summit @ Kenosha County Job Center North 2 8600 Sherdian Rd. Kenosha WI.

August 8th - Mayor Tom Barrett and the Milwaukee Health Department Announces 14th Annual Back To School Health Fairs

August 9th - Journey House Back to School event 10:00a.m.

August 16th - STOP Back to School Bash

August 19th - The Importance of Worksite Community Enegagement in Understanding Workplace Violence Prevention Opportunities Webinar


September 2014

September 24-25th - Project Safe Neighborhoods Anti-Gang and Violence Prevention Summit


October 2014

October 15th - Faith Matters: Building Community Through Faith Based Collaboration & Violence Prevention Summit Save the Date!

Keep Informed By...

Youth Leadership

Join the VPI Youth Leadership Council! An exciting opportunity for leadership development and training.  We are currently accepting applications for our Youth Leadership Council, which works cooperatively to provide planning and guidance related to the VPI's implementation priorities and objectives.  

Contact Us

We would like to hear from you and are interested in your thoughts and ideas.  Please complete the online form if you need any additional information.
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 08/07/2014