191203 Violence is a Public Health Issue

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 12:50 PM

Rodney Hammond, PhD , Director, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
As a leading cause of injury, disability and premature death, violence is among the most serious health threats today. The victims and perpetrators, as well as those who witness violence, are highly impacted and often suffer adverse health outcomes. The consequences for those affected are severe, including serious physical injuries, post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other longer term health problems associated with bio-psychosocial effects of such exposure. Despite the public health implications, the traditional response to violence usually defaults to law enforcement, in which after-the-fact strategies such as incarceration are employed. As violence jeopardizes the health and safety of the public, violence needs to be recognized as a public health issue. Moreover, public health should serve as the focal point for forging new, upfront strategies to prevent violence and improve the quality of life for all.

This presentation will make the case for violence as a public health issue, and describe how a public health approach provides a comprehensive and multidisciplinary response to ensure effective and sustainable efforts. Based on the principle that violence is preventable, public health makes the shift from a reactionary focus to a commitment to prevention. The core arguments for public health serving as a critical focal point for preventing violence include:

1. public health is charged with addressing threats to population health and safety;

2. public health is data-driven;

3. public health is collaborative;

4. public health is prevention-oriented;

5. public health is committed to decreasing disparities in morbidity and mortality.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss violence as a public health issue. 2. Describe the public health approach to violence. 3. Discuss public health principles for prevention.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Expert in the area
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.