Gun Violence Reduction

Guns Down, Life Up combines violence interruption programs and youth development activities, which offer young people positive activities before they become drawn into a culture of violence.

Launched in 2011, the initiative combines hospital- and community-based programs and utilizes a community outreach campaign to spread violence reduction messages. There is a special focus on connecting with youth through non-traditional media (e.g. short films, social media, and apparel).


Violence interruption

In 2012, the initiative secured financial support from New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative to implement programs based on nationally recognized violence interrupter models. Violence interrupters work within the community to identify and resolve potential dangerous conflicts before they escalate and to counteract retaliation when violence erupts.

NYC Health + Hospitals is implementing programs in Harlem and Central Brooklyn, through partnerships among NYC Health + Hospitals facilities Harlem Hospital Center, Kings County Hospital Center, and Lincoln Medical Center, community-based organizations, civic leaders, and other key stakeholders.

The leadership is working to secure resources and funding to expand interrupter programs to other New York City neighborhoods, such as the South Bronx and Southeast Queens.


Youth development

For many years, NYC Health + Hospitals has provided youth development programs across New York City, through our hospitals and clinics and in collaboration with the community.

We recognize the importance of these programs, which offer youth alternatives to violence and help them build life skills. NYC Health + Hospitals is actively seeking funding to expand existing youth development resources and implement new initiatives. Examples of NYC Health + Hospitals GDLU  youth development programs include the following:


Lincoln Against Violence Initiative


GDLU is NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln' (Bronx, NY) response to inner city gun violence. The approach has the following distinct components: (1) prevention: engaging youth early in long-term mentorship and developmental activities to divert them from involvement with violent peer groups and behaviors; (2) community mobilization: engaging with concerned organizations and neighborhood residents to build community strategies to reduce neighborhood violence.

GDLU’s goal is to reduce violent injuries to young people, ages 10-18, so that they never end up as trauma patients in hospital facilities.


Dr. Robert Gore, KAVI Executive Director works with youth to develop life skills, including how to present a positive image.

Kings Against Violence Initiative

Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) is a hospital and school-based youth violence prevention and empowerment program in Brooklyn. KAVI consists of weekly workshops and after-school activities that include life skills development, conflict resolution and communication, self-esteem building, connection to behavioral health services, and training in Capoeira Angola – a martial art that combines dance and music. The key to KAVI’s success is mentoring, which is a component of all KAVI activities.


Harlem Hospital Injury Prevention Program

The Harlem Hospital Injury Prevention Program (HHIPP) was one of the first of its kind when it was created nearly 25 years ago. Initially, HHIPP focused on preventing injuries that occurred in New York City playgrounds by utilizing techniques and materials that are now standard in most parks and playgrounds across the country.

HHIPP continues to adapt to community needs in innovative ways. Today, HHIPP provides young people with positive and engaging alternatives to violence and high-risk behaviors.

Harlem Hospital staff are actively involved in community-based efforts to raise awareness and reduce gun violence in the community.

Go to High School, Go to College is a youth development program to support a successful transition from adolescence to manhood for young men. The program includes career counseling and guest speakers, life and survival skills, public speaking and etiquette courses, and pregnancy prevention for young men.

HHIPP also offers programs in the arts including the Harlem Horizon Art Studio, Dance Leadership Program, and Unity Through Murals.

As with KAVI, HHIPP staff and volunteers provide guidance and positive role models through mentorship.

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