249699 Urban networks to increase thriving youth (UNITY) - Preventing violence for healthy child development

Monday, October 31, 2011: 5:35 PM

Xavier Morales, PhD , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Larry Cohen, MSW , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Annie Lyles, MSW , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Rachel Davis, MSW , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Violence leads to death, injuries and chronic disease, and it poses a serious health challenge for young people, especially children and adolescents in U.S. cities. When young people witness or suffer from violence, their brains develop differently as a result. The parts of the brain responsible for controlling impulses, regulating stress, solving problems, and empathizing are rewired, for example, and survival skills are developed at the expense of learning and social skills. These changes compromise children's health in the short and long term through various pathways. Violence also perpetuates the health, social and economic disparities in communities, and disproportionately affects young people of color. Safe communities enable children to play, learn and grow up healthy. This session will introduce the innovative public health approach of Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY), a CDC funded initiative to prevent violence affecting youth. The presenters will highlight strategies in the UNITY Policy Platform that support stable and nurturing relationships, and that reduce young children's exposure to violence so that behavior is not learned in the first place. The UNITY Policy Platform was developed in collaboration with representatives from cities across the country via a peer-learning network. The UNITY Policy Platform describes what needs to be in place on the ground to prevent community violence, and it also delineates the supports that cities say they need for efforts to be successful and sustainable. Multi-sectoral collaboration yields valuable tools and resources for communities, and a public health approach to preventing violence works.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. List the key characteristics of a public health approach to violence. 2. Explain at least two pathways by which exposure to violence undermines children’s development and overall health. 3. Describe at least three strategies from the UNITY Policy Platform that can prevent family and community violence.

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I develop and manage programs that promote community-led initiatives to address public health concerns, especially focusing on those factors that impact urban areas and minority populations.
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.