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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2009 Nov-Dec;15(6):E22-30. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181af639c.

Translating community-specified indicators of program success into measurable outcomes.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, USA.



Community participatory research encourages community involvement in early stages of program development and implementation, but sustainability is dependent on continued community interest and participation. While locally measured outcomes may not be generalizable, evaluations that demonstrate progress on community-specified markers of success can demonstrate a community's return on investment. The purpose of this study was to outline a process whereby community-identified indicators of successful violence prevention were translated into measurable variables.


Focus groups were conducted with key groups within identified neighborhoods experiencing high rates of violence in a large metropolitan area in the northeast United States.


From these groups, 40 indicators of successful violence prevention programs were expressed by the participants. Of these, 45 percent were matched to existing datasets with relevant variables. Datasets were then reviewed for accessibility. Feasibility of actually obtaining and analyzing data was tested by demonstrating the association between a "translated indicator" and a traditional indicator of violence. Greening data from Landsat satellite were correlated with shootings and mapped over target neighborhoods.


Results indicate that it is possible to develop measurable community-specific indicators for evaluation of youth violence prevention programs and that these indicators have the potential for being generalizable across communities.

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