Violence is among the most significant health problems not only because of death and injury, but also because of the harm, fear, and trauma caused to families and communities. It leads to a broad range of mental and physical health problems that disproportionately impact children, youth, and communities of color. Violence is preventable and because of its broad impact on health its prevention promises to provide substantial returns on investments to stop it.
The Health Understanding
Violence begets violence. This means not only that violence can reach “epidemic” levels, but also that it has characteristics of spread. Recent advancements in neuroscience, behavioral science, and epidemiology have given us an understanding of how violence is transmitted. We therefore need new methods of addressing violence to be added to the old.
Almost every person involved in a violent event manifests dozens to hundreds of symptoms that are missed opportunities for prevention. The health and public health sectors have an impressive, global record of effective prevention, behavior change, norm change, and work with difficult to reach populations. These approaches are currently under-utilized, under-recognized, and under- resourced for this problem.
The Health Movement
A group of over 400 health experts representing more than 40 of our most violent cities across the nation has gathered under the leadership of Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, Former Dean of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dr. Al Sommer and CEO/Founder of Cure Violence Dr. Gary Slutkin. Community leaders across the country are sharing and leveraging evidence-informed approaches to violence prevention to save lives and create a framework that can be implemented nationwide in impactful, sustainable and equitable ways.