Last week, Dr. Gary Slutkin, founder and Executive Director of Cure Violence, traveled to Kansas City, MO to recognize the great accomplishments of the Aim4Peace program and to talk to local government and health leaders about how the Cure Violence model is evolving.
The Aim4Peace program is a replication of the Cure Violence model implemented by the Kansas City Health Department under the leadership of Health Director Rex Archer and Aim4Peace Director Tracie McClendon. The Kansas City team has done a remarkable job in reducing violence, including a 56 percent drop in homicides in 2013 in Aim4Peace zones compared to a 1 percent increase across all of Kansas City.
Dr. Slutkin, along with Cure Violence National Director Frank Perez, had a number of encouraging conversations with the mayor, city council, senior staff of regional hospitals, and members of the state’s medical society. Slutkin and Perez appeared before the city council for a proclamation to recognize the great success of the Aim4Peace program. “We are grateful to the mayor and city council for this proclamation recognizing the extraordinary work of the Kansas City Health Department and Aim4Peace,” said Dr. Slutkin.
Kansas City’s Aim4Peace program will expand in 2014 with a 3-year $1.3 million grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs. The grant will essentially triple the current Aim4Peace program. This funding will allow the program to cover about 34 percent of the cities most violent areas, up from the current 11 percent coverage.
The early success in reducing violence, the coming expansion of the program, and a genuine enthusiasm for a health-based solution to violence are all very encouraging. Throughout the city there is a good understanding of violence as a health issue, which makes Kansas City a great example to cities around the country for how to successfully reduce violence.