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Connections Lab: a case study exploring a web-based innovation designed to advance shared risk and protective factor approaches to preventing injuries and violence
  1. Jamila M Porter1,
  2. Ina Robinson2,
  3. Carly Roberts3,
  4. Claudia Zavala4
  1. 1 de Beaumont Foundation, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  2. 2 Safe States Alliance, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  3. 3 Independent Consultant, San Diego, California, USA
  4. 4 Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, New York City, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Ina Robinson, National Collaborative for Health Equity, Washington, DC 20005, USA; irobinson{at}


Background Injuries and violence share many of the same risk and protective factors, which are rooted in the social determinants of health (SDOH) and the social determinants of equity. Addressing shared risk and protective factors (SRPFs)—common factors that make it more or less likely that a population will experience injuries or violence—is critical prevention efforts. The Safe States Alliance created the Connections Lab—a suite of web-based resources to help injury and violence prevention public health practitioners and their partners understand, describe, implement and evaluate SRPF approaches.

Design A mixed-methods approach using the Diffusion of Innovation Theory assessed how the Connections Lab influenced users’ knowledge, abilities and work related to SRPF approaches. A web-based survey was administered to 234 participants in April–May 2021. Semistructured virtual group discussions were conducted with a subset of 15 survey respondents who volunteered to participate.

Results The case study revealed three key findings. The Connections Lab: was diffused among practitioners across sectors within and outside of public health; it increased practitioners’ perceived proficiency across 10 skill sets related to describing, planning, implementing and evaluating SRPF approaches; and it increased understanding of the importance of upstream and structural drivers of injuries and violence.

Conclusion The Connections Lab was a critical first step to expand the definition of SRPF approaches, connect SRPFs to concepts of equity and the SDOH, and provide strategies for engaging partners in public health and across other sectors in SRPF approaches.

  • case study
  • public health
  • theory
  • mixed methods

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  • Contributors JMP played a central role in developing the Connections Lab website and designed the case study methods. JMP also led the development of data collection instruments, the analysis and framing of case study findings, and the formulation of the case study content. IR informed data collection efforts, supported the framing of the case study content, and provided writing and editorial support. CR conducted the literature review,supported data collection and analysis activities, and provided editorial support for the case study. CZ informed the development of data collection instruments, supported data collection and analysis activities, and provided editorial support for the case study.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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