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(Research Project)


The purpose of this project is to help us learn how we can best create and start a community violence intervention program to help Black men who have survived gun assault. This intervention will help support gun assault survivors through connection to needed social services, mental health care services, and other community resources.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)


UAMS researchers, Dr. Nakita Lovelady and Dr. Nickolas Zaller, in collaboration with victim services community partner, Joyce Raynor of Center for Healing Hearts & Spirits, have been awarded a research grant from the National Institutes of Health. This grant will expand the service delivery of UAMS' hospital-based violence intervention program, "Project Heal", which connects violent assault injury patients treated at UAMS to needed mental health care support (i.e., substance use treatment and counseling) and social services (housing, employment, legal aid, transportation, victim services, etc.) via peer support once they are discharged from the hospital. This new study will allow "Project Heal" to expand to community settings. The study represents a unique collaboration between UAMS and community partners working to address community-based violence not only in Little Rock, but surrounding cities and counties. This study will focus on secondary violence prevention through hospital-community partnerships to prevent escalation or revictimization from gun violence among African American men living in counties in Central Arkansas, the region of the state where violent assault is greatest. This is a two-phased study with the first phase (year 1 & 2) focusing on intervention development and refinement. The goals of the first two years are as follows: 


  • Aim 1: Form a comprehensive coalition comprised of community-based and academic partners to guide and inform all aspects of the proposed research.

  • Aim 2: Engage coalition members and other key community stakeholders in an Evidence Based Quality Improvement (EBQI) process to determine and refine the core components and implementation strategies of a multi-level intervention to address violent assault at the community level. 

The coalition will be comprised of community-based and academic partners. Community experts across multiple service provision sectors (i.e., employment, criminal justice, legal, housing, victim services, transportation, education, and violence prevention, etc.) along with medical and behavioral health providers, community health workers, and patients with lived experience will advise on all activities during the grant period. To ensure appropriate adaptations and adequate improvements for implementation, we will include key stakeholders in an intervention adaptation process called Evidence Based Quality Improvement (EBQI), which incorporates key perspectives of violence prevention implementers and individuals with lived experience to identify implementation strategies and intervention adaptation. The EBQI process will allow for "Project Heal" intervention to be locally tailored and to be paired with relevant implementation strategies. The second phase (years 3-5) will be the implementation of the refined intervention. 

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