274833 CeaseFire: Violence as a Disease, and How It Can Be Cured

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Charles Ransford, MMP , University of Illinois at Chicago / Chicago Project for Violence Prevention, Chicago, IL
Violence has long been considered a public health issue because it has been recognized to operate like a disease. As our understanding of the brain advances, this has become more than a convenient analogy. Violence is beginning to be understood as an actual disease that infects the brain in much the same way that other infectious diseases infect other parts of the body. In this presentation, we will review elements of infectious diseases and how exposure to violence operates within these elements such as transmission, susceptibility, and the pathogenesis. We will also review the current understanding of how exposure to violence effects the brain, including behavior modeling, hyper-arousal and dissociative reactions, and mirror neuron systems.

This new understanding of violence allows for a new approach to reduce violence in our society. The CeaseFire Public Health Model for violence prevention is one approach that has been highly successful. Using to public health methods, the model interrupts ongoing violence, changes norms of the highest risk transmitters, and changes group norms around the use of violence. Two independent evaluations of CeaseFire have demonstrated large reductions in violent crime in program sites. We will review the elements of the model and the evidence for its effectiveness.

Learning Areas:
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Explain how violence meets the definition of an infectious disease. Describe how the CeaseFire Chicago model uses a public health strategy to prevent violence and change the norms and behaviors that cause violence.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior research specialist at CeaseFire, where I have worked for 8 years. I have published papers on the CeaseFire model and its effect on violent crime and have been an integral part of the evolution of the CeaseFire model.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Cure Violence Violence Employment (includes retainer)

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.