CU leads violence prevention project in Denver

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is granting $6.5 million to CU to lead a project to reduce youth violence in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, according to a news release from CU.

The project, a five-year process that will begin Sept. 30, received praise from the city when it was submitted as a grant. Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock supported the initiative.

Delbert Elliot, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and distinguished professor emeritus of sociology, is leading the project which will be partnered with the School of Medicine.

(CU Independent Illustration/Robert R. Denton)

“We intend to create a novel combination of risk assessment and interventions in a broad partnership with the community, and in collaboration with a local hospital, to address the problem of high levels of violence,” said Elliot in a CU news release.

Dr. Elliot is a world-renowned expert on youth violence. He was the scientific editor of the Surgeon General Report on youth violence in 2002.

Bill Woodward, director of training and technical assistance at the same center Elliot is the director for, said that the project is designed to involve the Montbello community.

“The process is … the community builds their own working group and we will help them do that,” Woodward said. “That working group will go out and collect data about formality weapon problems, bullying, drugs, and alcohol.”

The local community and the board will examine the largest issues in the Montbello schools and they will then decide what actions to move forward with.

The schools to be involved in this project are still unknown, as the schools originally selected to be part of the program have changed since the district reorganization of Montbello area schools, Woodward said.

The CDC is allocating $1.3 million toward the project each year for a five year period, Woodward said. It has awarded many grants for health issues worldwide, but this is the only grant has been allocated recently for a project of this nature.

“The Centers for Disease Control has money for all kinds of disease control and they see violence as a health issue,” Woodward said.

Woodward said the project is meant to include graduate students “who want to be trained in how to do violence research and violence litigation.”

As stated in the university news release, the project is working with the School of Medicine to train future youth violence prevention researchers and medical practitioners. A minimum of four CU graduate students and four medical trainees/public health students will participate in the project.

Jeffrey Rice, an 18-year old freshman business major and Denver native, said that he thinks this project has the potential to be effective.

“It is possible that it could work,” Rice said. “It’s easy because it’s not like every single person is in a gang. It’s not so wide-spread, just one small area.”

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Vanessa Harmoush at




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