Violence Prevention Initiative

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The VPI Development Phase

In April 2008, the MCW Consortium launched a 20-month development process for the Violence Prevention Initiative that included two key phases:

  • Phase I: focused on infrastructure and stakeholder development and included establishing a steering committee, recruiting stakeholders for the initiative, conducting an environmental scan and developing a community vision statement.
  • Phase II: focused on implementation planning and outcome identification and included developing action plans, outcome measures, community resources and assets to support 4-5 key performance areas.

Steering Committee

The leadership for the VPI development phase consisted of a 21-person Steering Committee composed of the following 15 community and 6 academic partners (11 community members from diverse sectors, 4 youth, 3 MCW Consortium representatives, 3 MCW Faculty) whose charge was to prepare the implementation proposal based on a public health and community asset model:

Anthony Acevedo, Riverside High School

Tasha Jenkins, Fighting Back Milwaukee and MCW Consortium Member

Elaine Banton, Milwaukee Public Schools

Patricia Kirby, Milwaukee Public Schools

Chaparis Blackmon, Marquette University

Ka Lovang, Hmong American Women’s Association

David Bowen, Urban Underground

Cheryl Maurana, MCW Senior Associate Dean for Public and Community Health and MCW Consortium Member

Karen Brasel, MCW Department of Surgery

Marlene Melzer-Lange, MCW Department of
Pediatrics/Emergency Medicine

Douglas Campbell, MCW Senior Vice President and MCW Consortium member

Carmen Ortiz, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee

Richard Cox, Neighborhood House

Terry Perry, Office of Violence Prevention for the City of Milwaukee

Lindsey Draper, Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator for the Office of Justice Assistance

Carmen Pitre, Sojourner Family Peace Center

Janet Fitch, New Moon Productions

Marcus Tatum, Bryant and Stratton College

Sheldon Fountain Jr., Washington High School

Hillary Wynn, St. Charles Youth and Family Services

Stephen Hargarten, MCW Department of Emergency Medicine and the Injury Research Center



Based on community stakeholder interview data and evidence from the literature, the VPI Steering Committee determined that the VPI will focus on:

  • violence prevention programs for youth ages 0-11 years
  • developing leadership capacity to prevent violence among youth ages 12-17 years; and
  • building and strengthening community capacity and resources to prevent youth violence.

Key Findings

What we have learned about community capacity building and partnerships:

  1. Capitalize on community capital
  2. Strengthen community capacity
  3. Broad-based participation is important
  4. Enhance and build upon current local initiatives
  5. Consider angle of vision
  6. Youth participation and leadership is critical

Development Phase Accomplishments (April 2008– January 2010)

1. Created VPI Infrastructure

  • Established VPI Community Office and recruited faculty and administrative staff to support the VPI

  • Established website, newsletter, and listservs to increase communication across VPI stakeholders

2. Developed VPI Steering Committee

  • Established a 21-member Steering Committee with representation from academic and broader community to identify VPI priorities and develop an implementation plan

3. Identified Successful Local, National and International Models

  • Reviewed the academic literature, collected data on violence statistics, and compiled information on local and national violence prevention initiatives

4. Launched VPI Community Events

  • Hosted four community events, with over 250 participants, to provide information on the VPI, report on progress, and solicit community input and participation in workgroups

5. Conducted Community and Youth Assessments to Identify Existing Assets & Programs

  • Conducted interviews with 62 community stakeholders to document existing efforts and identify agency collaboration and service area gaps
  • Conducted 18 youth interviews to better understand the youth perspective on violence and what is needed to prevent violence
  • Conducted 8 youth focus groups to better understand the youth perspective on violence and what is needed to prevent violence
  • Mapped community assets and needs across ten high-risk zip codes, including demographic and census data, parks, schools, churches, community providers, and social service agencies
  • Created and distributed Community Assessment Report with findings from the community interviews as well as mapping of zip code areas

6. Convened Organizations to Encourage Exchange of Information

  • Conducted 20 community education workshops on violence prevention
  • Hosted 57 community initiatives to help establish the VPI office as a community resource.

7. Defined VPI Focus, Principles, and Strategies
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 05/14/2014