Statement of Purpose This past year in Philadelphia, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has experienced exponential increases in gun violence, homicides, and victimizations. According to the Controller of the City of Philadelphia, there have been 454 homicides to date in 2021, a 11% increase from 2020. There have also been 1,846 shootings, 367 of which have been fatal. With limited resources and funding, many service agencies and providers are unable to meet the needs of this unprecedented demand. In the face of limited capabilities, we developed a collaborative effort: The West/Southwest Collaborative to Reduce Gun Violence (WSW Collaborative). The WSW Collaborative was envisioned as an inclusive, multi-organizational response by community, academic, health system, and government stakeholders to the dramatic increase in gun violence and its impact on victims, co-victims (surviving family members of homicide), and communities in the West and Southwest neighborhoods of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Methods/Approach The WSW Collaborative is composed of key collaborators representing university, government and community-based organizations. The current study applies implementation research methods to the cost, acceptability and potential uptake of the WSW Collaborative. We will collect data from in-depth, key-informant interviews, observations, and relevant documents.
Results Results from this study will inform how the WSW Collaborative can successfully adopt a true collective impact model, with emphasis on five key conditions: a common agenda, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and backbone support organizations. Broadly, results will also inform how the collective impact model can be successfully applied to gun violence efforts in other states and municipalities.
Significance This study directly examines the feasibility of a cross-sectoral collective impact model to reduce gun violence. As new evidence related to the effectiveness of gun violence strategies become available, we will need to understand how to best implement these strategies using the tenets of collective impact that are often required to address complex problems.
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