White House to Host National Offices of Violence Prevention Network


On May 22, staff from Public Health Madison & Dane County will join other members of the National Offices of Violence Prevention Network (NOVPN) by participating in an event hosted by the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention focused on community violence intervention and collaborative work to build an ecosystem of Offices of Violence Prevention (OVPs) to keep our communities safe.

OVPs, also known as offices of neighborhood safety and other names, are premised on the notion that community safety should not be the exclusive province of policing and the criminal justice system. Charged with addressing public safety through the lens of public health, OVPs typically focus on the application of community-based strategies to intervene in or prevent violence for those at highest risk of engaging in or being the victim of gun violence.

The Violence Prevention Unit (VPU) at Public Health works to analyze and address the issue of community violence. The VPU coordinates the agency’s violence prevention plan, the Roadmap to Reducing Violence.

“Community is at the core of our public health approach to violence prevention. By working with community partners to gather and analyze violence data and using the strengths and expertise of community members and partners, we are creating change for the better for our families and neighbors,” said Aurielle Smith, Policy, Planning & Evaluation Division Director at Public Health Madison & Dane County.

Numerous local and state governments have recently established OVPs in response to nationwide surges in violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with this momentum, in September 2023, President Biden established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to reduce gun violence and implement and expand upon key executive and legislative action which has been taken to save lives. This White House gathering of NOVPN members from more than 40 jurisdictions represents an exciting next step in President Biden’s commitment to ending gun violence in our country.

“We are honored to be invited to the White House to showcase our efforts and learn about the important work being done in other communities around the country,” said Smith.

“The NOVPN team is excited to have Network members from across the country join us at the White House in this first of its kind discussion in our nation’s history,” said NOVPN Director Shantay Jackson. “These leaders are at the forefront of their local jurisdictions, working tirelessly with their communities and partner agencies in the reduction of gun violence and, as we head into the summer months, this conversation is necessary, timely, and invaluable.”


The National Offices of Violence Prevention Network (NOVPN) is a first-of-its-kind learning community with the goal of significantly increasing the expertise and effectiveness of offices of violence prevention and other similar agencies. The NOVPN hosts virtual and in-person convenings; provides trainings on violence reduction practices; coordinates cross-OVP learning exchanges; offers leadership development; and builds OVP capacity in data collection, fund development, and media relations. The NOVPN also supports the creation of new OVPs in jurisdictions interested in developing such agencies, and the Network partners with the White House’s National Office of Gun Violence Prevention to facilitate access to OVPs. Originally established in 2021 with a membership of 21 established OVPs, the Network has grown to nearly 60 members, including multiple state-level offices of violence prevention and local OVPs launched with NOVPN support. To learn more, visit https://ovpnetwork.org/. The NOVPN is a strategic initiative of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR). To learn more about NICJR, visit https://nicjr.org/.

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