UofL receives $5.7 million from CDC to establish Youth Violence - WDRB 41 Louisville News

UofL receives $5.7 million from CDC to establish Youth Violence Prevention Research Center

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences $5.7 million to establish a Youth Violence Prevention Research Center.

The federal government has been treating youth violence as a public health issue and the goal of the program is to stop young people from killing each other in the city's troubled west end. 

Mayor Greg Fischer and other key community members and partners were on hand to announce the establishment of the new University of Louisville Youth Violence Prevention Research Center.

“Too many young people see violence as the only way to resolve issues, and we’ve got to find a way to turn that around," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "We’ve got to show our young people another way. I’m excited about this effort to get out in front of the issues challenging so many in our community, and I’m thrilled to have our Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods take part in this partnership,”said Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer."

Some of the money will be spent on social media.  

Officials say the Facebook campaign is designed to reach young people where they are, and many spend a great deal of time on social media sites like Facebook. 

The Louisville Central Community Center on W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. will be the home for U of L's new Youth Violence Prevention Research Center. 

Some of the $5.7 million grant will be used to hire a 10-person team that will develop a campaign on social media aimed at reaching troubled youth for community level interventions. This is still a test right now, and there is still a research component to the program. 

If the program is successful, the CDC plans to replicate this so-called "social norming" campaign in other communities. Last year there were 338 kids under the age of 18 arrested for violent crimes in west Louisville. 

"It's another tool in our toolbox for safe and healthy neighborhoods," Fischer said. "There cannot just be one attempt, there has to be multiple attempts from many different points in the community, from the street level, from the classroom level, from the social media level. Furthermore having the partnership with U of L's public health department on this is extraordinary for the city."

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