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Developing a Strategy to Evaluate Urban Violence Prevention and Intervention Ecosystems: A Case Study of Boston

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $983,482)

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and WestEd are pleased to jointly respond to Category 4 of the Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (CVIPI) solicitation from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to develop and test a model for evaluating ecosystem approaches to preventing violence. Over 4 years, the project will produce a violence intervention and prevention intercept model (VIPIM) that pinpoints entry points, outcomes, and coordination dynamics across the community- and hospital-based violence intervention and prevention (C/HVIP) ecosystem serving priority populations at risk for violence in Boston. To increase the VIPIM’s relevance in other urban places, we will engage the broader field, particularly individuals directly impacted by violence, as we develop the model template through feedback webinars with other cities using an ecosystem approach (e.g., Philadelphia, Oakland, Chicago). The resulting VIPIM template will be customized to Boston’s C/HVIP ecosystem and tested using data from a retrospective (2021-2025) sample of up to 2,500 individuals to understand (1) how well the tool captures the different ecosystem intercepts that exist and (2) the degree to which cumulative or single exposure to intercepts over time affects future risk for violence. The primary goals are to fill a gap in the current evidence to understand the degree to which cumulative or single exposure to intervention and prevention intercepts over time affects future risk for violence and to establish a customizable tool and process for cities to use when assessing and improving their own ecosystem approach informed by those most impacted by violence. We will reach our goals through five research questions (RQ).

RQ1: To what extent can sequential intercept modeling be a useful tool to describe and define any C/HVIP ecosystem?

RQ2: To what extent does the VIPIM accurately and reliably represent Boston’s C/HVIP ecosystem?

RQ3: How do socioecological factors, violence experiences, and responsivity needs diverge among individuals with similar risk propensities?

RQ4: How do singular and repeated contacts with system intercept points affect outcomes according to individual and group typologies? Does the order of exposure to impacts affect outcomes?

RQ5: To what extent did engagement in the study affect the way individuals viewed the research process as equitable, transparent, and credible?

Date Created: September 26, 2023