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Keywords:

  • gang youth;
  • nurse;
  • public health;
  • vulnerable population

ABSTRACT Background: Gang youth often come from socially and economically marginalized communities. Such youth report significantly higher rates of participation in violence, substance use, and risky sexual behaviors than their nongang peers.

Aims: This manuscript argues that gang-identified youth constitute a vulnerable population.

Materials and Methods: Data are drawn from the general research literature and a case example of how a nurse in Los Angeles partnered with law enforcement to provide preventive health care to gang youth and youth at-risk for joining gangs.

Conclusion: Gang youth are a vulnerable population amenable to nursing intervention. Gang youth may have particular health care needs and may need special access to health care.