CoreChange Interrupts the Cycle of Violence Affecting Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Rationale / Objectives

The city of Cincinnati has experienced an increase in violence in recent years. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital believes that violence is a symptom of a variety of social links to health. The hospital’s goal was to address the root cause of poverty in their community and its ramifications, and help to interrupt the cycle of violence, thereby improving the well-being of the entire community. 1

Project/Program Description & Major Achievements

Cincinnati Children’s applied a systemic change process to address the root causes of violence through CoreChange Cincinnati. CoreChange focused on the urban core using proven planning methodologies of Appreciative Inquiry, Systems Thinking, Asset-Based Community Development and Design Thinking. CoreChange complimented regional planning efforts by addressing three objectives that had been challenging to achieve and sustain: (1) systemic solutions aimed at urban poverty and its effects, (2) effective civic investment by the residents most impacted by those conditions and (3) a conviction of shared accountability for urban problems among those who lived outside the core. Community engagement, a speaker series, working groups and a fluid organization all contributed to CoreChange. The violence in Cincinnati has not yet decreased, as it takes time to reach the tipping point for community revitalization and violence reduction. 2 Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is expected to see major changes in the next 5 to 10 years.1


Lessons Learned

To interrupt the cycle of violence, it is essential to address the key drivers while also taking care of the symptoms. Hospitals can leverage their resources to address the root causes of violence by developing innovative business models to increase opportunities and bring resources into areas of concentrated poverty in their communities. These structural changes may take years to occur, but violence cannot be solved without addressing the root causes from a systems perspective.

Further Description

A trauma surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital engaged the community to collaboratively develop solutions through CoreChange Cincinnati, a nonprofit organization made up of a diverse group of community and organizational leaders. Core Change employs an evidence-based systemic change process to engage all stakeholders, particularly grassroots members, to co-create solutions to reduce urban poverty and its consequences, including violence. One example of is a market-based strategy: a cooperative business in the urban core that hires neighbourhood residents, some of whom have had contact with the criminal justice system. A CoreChange Leader spearheaded  a discussion with community members to share the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities they saw or experienced. The leader also shared information on how to take action on next steps. 2

Major Achievements

Rethinking the root causes of violence and scaling strategies to address them will ultimately produce change. Garcia predicts that Cincinnati will see major changes in the next 5 to 10 years.