250024 Preventing violence as a public health priority: UNITY, an urban initiative

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:50 AM

Xavier Morales, PhD , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Rachel Davis, MSW , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Benita Tsao, MPH , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Violence leads to death, injuries and chronic disease, and poses a serious health challenge for young people. Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY), a CDC funded initiative, is a national effort that supports U.S. cities to shift local practices to emphasize a multi-sector public health approach to reducing violence. UNITY promotes an innovative multi-sector public health approach to prevent violence before it happens. UNITY's assessment of violence prevention activities in the U.S. found that cities with the most coordination also have the lowest rates of violence. Additionally, the assessment found that local public health departments are not generally involved in efforts to prevent violence, nor do they see themselves as a crucial partner. Given this context, UNITY is currently involved in 23 cities across the U.S. attempting to advocate for a larger role for public health in local violence prevention efforts.

This presentation will highlight strategies from the newly-released UNITY Policy Platform and discuss how the policy platform was developed in collaboration with representatives from cities across the country via a peer-learning network. The platform is a policy document that describes for local officials what needs to be in place on the ground to prevent community violence, and identifies the local supports that are needed for efforts to be successful and sustainable. The UNITY Policy Platform is helping to build momentum for strengthening national and state support of local initiatives, and collaboration can indeed yield valuable tools and resources for public health professionals working to prevent violence.

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 why public health is uniquely equipped to lead efforts to prevent violence and create safe communities. 3. Identify at least three strategies that can prevent community violence. 4. Describe how a peer-learning network may be leveraged to develop a policy platform to prevent violence.

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Community Health

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.