In its 2015 guide, “Hospital Approaches to Interrupt the Cycle of Violence,” the American Hospital Association details a nine-step process that organizations can take to begin intervening.

Experts note that not every community will require a hospital-based, violence-intervention program. But it’s important to take the first step by deciding whether you have a problem and beginning to discover its causes. Julia Resnick, a senior program manager with the AHA’s Association for Community Health Improvement, says any hospital that wants to begin tackling population health should include questions about the prevalence of community violence.

Related: Hospitals Look to Intervene, Break the Cycle of Violence

“To keep people well and prevent illness and injury, then you have to think outside the four walls of the hospital and address the social determinants of health," she says. "As we continue along the population health path, communities need to consider how violence impacts health — and not just gang violence or street violence, but also interpersonal violence that might not be so readily apparent. Exploring the types of violence a community experiences can help them understand the root causes of the violence and take steps to prevent it.”

See the American Hospital Association's latest news and resources on combating violence.

These are the nine steps to follow:

  1. Define the problem.
  2. Pinpoint risk and resilience factors.
  3. Identify community partners.
  4. Prioritize needs.
  5. Determine the target population.
  6. Identify resources.
  7. Assess the hospital’s role.
  8. Plan interventions.
  9. Measure results.