2021 - 2026, Active

Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center: Building Evidence for Gun Violence Prevention

Institute Project

The Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center (MI-YVPC) will work in partnership with two communities to study implementation and effectiveness of two distinct strategies for firearm violence prevention. The Center will include a partnership and staffing plan that includes a multi-disciplinary research team with experience partnering with community residents, organizations, and institutions, to implement and evaluate community level violence prevention strategies.


Youth violence is a significant U.S. public health priority as homicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents (age 14-20), 90% is from firearm violence. Assault injuries are associated with significant long- term consequences, including repeat fatal/non-fatal assault injuries, future firearm violence, substance use disorders, mental health issues, and criminal justice involvement. Substantial disparities exist in outcomes, with firearm homicide, substance use, and incarceration rates higher among Black youth residing in urban communities. Structural factors associated with racism and inequitable distribution of resources are at the root of all forms of violence, and especially interpersonal firearm violence. There is an urgent need for interventions reducing violence especially firearm-related morbidity and mortality among urban youth.

The Center includes two research strategies along the translational science continuum to advance youth firearm injury prevention. First, the team plans to conduct a Hybrid Type 3, multi-site effectiveness implementation trial to test the community effectiveness of an existing evidence-based practice for youth violence prevention. This study aligns with Research Area 2 and #3. Second, the team will conduct a Hybrid Type 1 implementation-effectiveness study of existing youth engaged gun violence primary prevention programs. The team will use a multi-case study design to study individual and community level outcomes while simultaneously gathering data on program implementation. Community level police incidents and injury data will be analyzed. Partner communities and study sites are Muskegon, MI and surrounding area, and Washington, DC. While these locations differ in context, they share a history of severe racial segregation, disinvestment and economic inequality and are experiencing escalating crises of youth firearm violence and homicide. This study will result in toolkits for community and youth engaged gun violence prevention that can be translated to multiple contexts.  The research team will also work with two youth advisory boards (WashDC and Michigan) who will provide feedback on our research, and lead online and in person community outreach activities.

The Center also includes collaboration with our CDC-funded public health leadership training program for a Training Core. This Core is designed to establish a pipeline of underrepresented minority undergraduate and graduate students to get research and practice experience working in prevention of youth violence in general, and gun violence in particular. The Training Core also includes postdoctoral positions to develop researchers in this field. The research team includes faculty from the disciplines of public health, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and community and educational psychology, with expertise in violence and injury prevention including firearm violence prevention in multiple settings and 25+ years of experience partnering with community residents, organizations, institutions, to implement and evaluate community level violence prevention strategies.

Learn more about the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center.

Learn more about the evidence-based youth violence prevention intervention for clinical settings, SafERteens.

Project Team

Marc Zimmerman, PhD
Jason Goldstick, PhD
Justin Heinze, PhD
Hsing-Fang Hsieh, PhD, MPH
Patrick Carter, MD
Inbal Nahum-Shani, Co-Investigator
Brian Stork, Co-Investigator


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project – Washington, D.C.

Gaining Unity through Non-Violent Solutions (G.U.N.S.) – Muskegon, MI