COSA Chair and Associate Professor Mary Ohmer is Co-PI and Site Co-Lead on the new Child/Youth Thriving Matrix: A community-level strategy to reduce youth violence grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The project will assist high-risk youth and families and promote resilience and equity in communities that have recently faced civil unrest through implementation of evidence-based violence prevention, and community youth engagement programs, as well as linkages to trauma-informed behavioral health services.
This five-year project is situated within an Allegheny County-wide child and adolescent health initiative called The Pittsburgh Study (TPS) which focuses on strategies to support child and youth thriving. A unique community-academic collaborative, TPS has established deep partnerships across multiple communities that have been historically marginalized and racially segregated. Researchers will identify members from the TPS coalition, as well as other stakeholders from the focus neighborhoods for this project, to form an overall Community Advisory Coalition (CAC), who will provide guidance and leadership on all grant activities.
The work begins with a community needs and resources assessment and a community wide strategic planning process to engage residents and key stakeholders in the project. Researchers will then work with 10 neighborhoods through resident led Community Advisory Boards to assess neighborhood Child Thriving and implement targeted interventions.
The project has three main goals:
- Tertiary Prevention: Improving Care Coordination and Mentoring for Youth Injured or Impacted by Violence, Trauma and Civil Unrest to Promote Recovery and Reduce Future Violence Involvement
- Secondary Prevention: Connecting Youth to Racial and Gender Justice-informed Violence Prevention Programs to Address Trauma, Violence and Civil Unrest
- Primary Prevention: Promoting community change through a community-based participatory intervention that engages youth and adults to foster collective efficacy and community resilience and increase community capacity and leadership to prevent youth and community violence and improve community mental health.
“This exciting project engages and builds resiliency in communities to prevent youth violence and trauma and promote social justice” said Dr. Ohmer. “We’re bringing together some amazing local government, university and community partners to facilitate child thriving!”
Partners include the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (UPMC CHP). Dr. Ohmer’s Co-PI is Dr. Alison Culyba of UPMC CHP and Pitt School of Medicine. Co-Is include Dr. Liz Miller of UPMC CHP and Pitt School of Medicine and Richard Garland from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. Community partners include UrbanKind Institute and Neighborhood Resiliency Project.