Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Violence Prevention Marks Major Milestone

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10 Years of Unified Programming and Research

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Violence Prevention Marks A Major Milestone [10 Years of Unified Programming and Research] Today, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) celebrates its 10th anniversary, recognizing significant accomplishments in helping to reduce exposure to and impact of violence on youth and their families.

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, CHOP formed the Center by uniting individual small programs located in different areas of the hospital. Today, CVP has grown to include a variety of programming that falls under six pillars (Aggression & Bullying Prevention; Community Violence & Trauma Support; Intimate Partner Violence Prevention; Gun Safety; Suicide Prevention; and Professional Development & Training). From the start, CVP’s mission has centered on the Philadelphia community served by CHOP and its most immediate needs.

“The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators and was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” said Stephen Leff, PhD, co-director of CVP at CHOP and a clinical psychologist in CHOP’s Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (DCAPBS). “We also knew that children for whom we care at CHOP were experiencing violence in their neighborhoods on a daily basis. We took our sadness and anger and mobilized as a collective public health and pediatric health community to move the needle on youth violence prevention.”

Since its inception in 2013, the Center’s research and programs have shared an infrastructure, collective expertise and a passion for helping children in the CHOP community. CVP has delivered evidence-based programming in more than 50 public schools and trained 300 teachers and counselors. Community violence prevention specialists have provided complex support to 566 youth and their families following a violent assault injury, resolving nearly 90% of client and family-identified needs. Each year, CVP faculty and staff have screened and offered universal education about intimate partner violence to approximately 35,000 families and screened more than 100,000 primary care patients for peer bullying.

Along the way, CVP also developed and delivered trauma-informed care (TIC) training to nearly 8,000 professionals both at CHOP and externally. More recently, CVP expanded to serve more patients and members of the community by adding suicide prevention, gun safety and anti-racism training among its supported programs. Since 2019, CVP has distributed more than 5,000 gun locks (with gun safety education) at CHOP locations and community events, and over the past decade the Behavioral Health Screen has been completed for more than 35,000 adolescent visits to the emergency department, assessing for depression, suicide and other potential health risks.

“As long as there are children, teens, and families in Philadelphia at risk of violence and or in need of healing from violence, we plan to be there for them.” said Joel Fein, MD, MPH, co-director of CVP at CHOP and an emergency medicine physician at CHOP. “We acknowledge new and future partnerships with organizations that care about youth. They are essential to helping us create and disseminate evidence-based programs and policies locally and scaling them regionally and nationally.”  

Learn more about CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention and view a 10-year report including key milestones from the past decade, impact data, and future directions.

A non-profit, charitable organization, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, the 595-bed hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. The institution has a well-established history of providing advanced pediatric care close to home through its CHOP Care Network, which includes more than 50 primary care practices, specialty care and surgical centers, urgent care centers, and community hospital alliances throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as the Middleman Family Pavilion and its dedicated pediatric emergency department in King of Prussia. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit

Contact: Joey McCool Ryan, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, (267) 258-6735 or

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