Academic Center of Excellence

Academic Center of Excellence in Violence Prevention (ACE):
Steps to Success (STS)

In 2011, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) was designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Academic Center of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention to lead an effort that will reduce youth violence in Denver's Montbello neighborhood. The Center works closely with residents and a special community board to reduce rates of serious violent crime and gang-related violence, in addition to self-reported rates of drug and alcohol abuse, gang participation, fighting, and bullying in schools.

For more information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, please visit:


ACE Steps to Success publications include reports created by the Montbello Community and the ACE research team related to the Steps to Success Project in Montbello.

Steps to Success has five main goals:

  • Reduce levels of youth violence among youth 10-24 years old in Montbello, CO compared to a comparison site;
  • Implement and evaluate a multi-faceted, evidence-based primary prevention/intervention approach within the Montbello community;
  • Provide training activities for junior youth violence prevention researchers in the fields of behavioral science, public health, and adolescent medicine;
  • Provide training to medical practitioners enabling them to recognize and treat youth violence; and
  • Embed activities coordinated by the ACE into the existing community infrastructure of youth services to ensure sustainability.

STS will implement the Communities That Care (CTC) system in the Montbello community. CTC is a strategic planning mechanism that builds upon a concept of first identifying and then targeting risk factors for violence across multiple domains in a given community. It is designed to guide the prevention efforts of a community through a five-stage process:

  • Assess readiness to undertake collaborative prevention efforts;
  • Obtain commitment to the CTC process from community leaders and form a prevention coalition;
  • Use data to assess prevention needs;
  • Choose tested and effective prevention policies, practices, and programs; and
  • Implement and evaluate efforts.

Other Designated Academic Centers of Excellence: