Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center

The Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center (PCVPC) was established as an Urban Partnership Academic Center of Excellence in 2006 through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the goal of preventing violence and aggression in the lives of youth in West and Southwest Philadelphia. The Center’s mission centered around designing, implementing, and evaluating programs that enhance the resiliency of communities affected by violence, and to reduce the frequency and impact of youth violence, injury and death. With a commitment to Community-Based Participatory Research, PCVPC brought together academic institutions (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), The University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Drexel University) and community-based organizations (Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalition) to share equally in planning, leadership, analysis, and dissemination of research results. While PCVPC completed its grant in 2011, CHOP, Penn, Temple and Drexel continue to collaborate on urban violence prevention research and action.

Key PCVPC Research Projects

  • Participatory Action Research to Negotiate Every Response (PARTNER)
    PARTNER took a multi-component, multi-level approach to prevent youth violence at both the individual and community level. It focused on developing and testing the effectiveness of an aggression prevention program that combines building youth problem-solving skills and leadership with parenting/family outreach and community workshops. A systematic trial of the program, which targeted 10- to 14-year-olds, was recently conducted in six neighborhood venues. Results from the first cohort of participants look promising, and outcomes related to social problem-solving skills, leadership, and community involvement are currently being examined.
  • Developing Adolescent RADAR to Screen for Dating Violence
    Funded by The Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, this project seeks to develop a brief, evidence-based screening tool for adolescent dating violence that can be used by healthcare providers and researchers. Analysis is ongoing.
  • An Exploratory Study of Individual and Environmental Stressors and Assets in Urban Youth / Living Healthy in Philadelphia
    In order to understand the trajectory of youth violence, this project looked at behaviors of youth based on their exposure to individual and environmental supports and stressors. The two-phased project involved interviews with more than 20 10- to 16-year-olds, as well as a survey of 100 youths of the same age.  Results of this study reflect the commitment of the community to approach violence from an assets rather than deficits perspective. The duality of safe and unsafe places and the constant vigilance of these youth indicate that although many youth are doing well in these violence environments, many youth are able to point out significant stressors in their lives. To help youth better attain optimum health and well ness, we must understand how to best aid youth in accessing their assets and resources contributing to positive outcomes.
  • Community Derived Indicators of Success in Violence Prevention
    This was a mixed methods study that uniquely demonstrated how focus-group generated community views of what a successful violence prevention could be valuable through secondary data analysis.
  • Community-Driven Research Day
    Community-Driven Research Day is an annual event that encourages collaboration between university-based research partners and community-based organizations (CBOs) who have research questions that they are interested in answering. Through an interactive poster session, CBOs highlight their research questions to researchers from CHOP, The University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Drexel University. CBOs and academic researchers are able to meet and discuss potential collaborations.

Affiliated Research Projects

  • The Health and Safety Effects of Greening Vacant Urban Space
    The purpose of this study was to determine if the cleaning and greening of vacant properties can decrease the likelihood of aggravated assault in neighborhoods. Results of the study revealed that greening was linked to significant reductions in gun assaults across most of Philadelphia and significant reductions in vandalism in one section of the city.  Vacant lot greening was also associated with residents in certain sections of the city reporting significantly less stress and more exercise.
    Read study results.
  • Safety Nets – Improving Youth Well-Being through Sports
    This initiative involved a collaborative, neighborhood-based partnership between the Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF), the Starfinder Foundation (Starfinder), Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania to provide a violence prevention education intervention focused around the nontraditional sports of tennis and soccer. It was designed for 10- to 14-year-olds in the high-risk neighborhoods of Southwest Philadelphia.
  • Youth and Adult Perspectives on Violence Prevention Strategies
    This project outlined the overall community-level outlook on violence prevention in the context of activities for youth, barriers to activities for youth, and ideal violence prevention interventions.

Dissemination of Evidence-based Information in the Community

PCVPC developed unique ways to provide information to for local community members and beyond.

  • Community Research Briefs were designed to convey research results and put them into the appropriate context for community members and partners. Access them here.
  • Four community symposia were held in community settings to disseminate information on the Center’s research findings, as well as provide an opportunity to hear from community members regarding violence prevention needs and ideas. 
  • A Community Advisory Board, which consisted of key stakeholders and leaders from the targeted communities of Kingsessing, Cobbs Creek and Haddington was established to develop research dissemination strategies, provide recruitment and engagement strategies, and organize community mobilization activities.
  • A Youth Advisory Board (YAB) was established to ensure that youth voice was embedded in all research strategies of the Center.  The PCVPC YAB was a team of youth community leaders, between the ages of 10 and 17, from different communities in Philadelphia who are dedicated educators and advocates for a positive and sustainable change within their communities. The Board provided valuable youth perspectives on the most effective strategies for communicating and disseminating information to youth residing in the West and Southwest Philadelphia communities.