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VCU’s Clark-Hill Institute Receives a $6.5 Million Grant to Develop and Evaluate a Comprehensive Youth Violence Prevention Program in Richmond

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a $6.5 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development to work with the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools on a comprehensive approach to reduce youth violence in Richmond.

The five-year grant will be used to develop and evaluate a youth violence prevention model that has the potential for being implemented nationwide, according to Albert Farrell, Ph.D., psychology professor and director of the institute, which is part of the VCU Department of Psychology. The VCU program is one of four university programs nationally to receive this CDC funding.

“This funding allows us to continue our work as a national academic center of excellence in youth violence prevention – one of only six currently funded by the CDC -- and we will use our resources to evaluate and improve the quality and quantity of programs offered in the community,” Farrell said.

The three major components of the program involve community, school and family.

“This particular grant provides us with an exciting opportunity to work with our existing partners in shaping research and intervention possibilities,” said Kevin Allison, Ph.D., professor of psychology and associate dean for community activities at the College of Humanities and Sciences.

The grant was announced during a Dec. 1 celebration with community partners at VCU’s Scott House.

“We are excited about this grant and the opportunity it provides to further our goals of having full community involvement in the positive development of our children and youth,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “The efforts of the Clark-Hill Institute are to be commended and we are in full support and in partnership with them in the outstanding work that will be unfolding in our community over the next five years.”

VCU has worked with the Richmond Public Schools on youth violence prevention efforts since 1992.

"For nearly two decades, Richmond Public Schools and Virginia Commonwealth University have partnered on youth violence prevention efforts, an effort that has provided both insight and positive results," said Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Yvonne Brandon, Ed.D. "The $6.5 million grant to VCU's Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development will allow this viable, critically important, comprehensive and truly collaborative approach to reducing youth violence to continue its mission. We are both pleased and grateful to be included as partners."

The center’s mission is to empower youth, schools and families to promote the healthy, safe and otherwise positive development of youth from early adolescence through emerging adulthood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the major operating components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is dedicated to health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a $6.5 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development to work with the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools on a comprehensive approach to reduce youth violence in Richmond.

The five-year grant will be used to develop and evaluate a youth violence prevention model that has the potential for being implemented nationwide, according to Albert Farrell, Ph.D., psychology professor and director of the institute, which is part of the VCU Department of Psychology. The VCU program is one of four university programs nationally to receive this CDC funding.