Elevating a Public Health Approach to Preventing Violence in a Changing National Landscape

Prevention Institute is amplifying support for a public health approach to preventing violence while they cement their gains from the last decade and continue to innovate and progress.

Ten to fifteen years ago, few cities had adopted a public health approach to preventing violence, and national public health organizations and networks paid far less attention to violence. Today, cities and counties throughout the country are investing in public health approaches, national networks within and outside of the field of public health are advancing its methods, and stories of public health successes appear more frequently in the national discourse.

However, at a time when we know more than ever about what works to prevent violence in the first place, powerful counter forces are calling for after-the-fact approaches to violence that emphasize punishment over prevention, and the won gains that support safe communities are at risk. Recognizing that maintaining and strengthening local violence prevention efforts is even more critical in the context of the national rhetoric that elevates the role of law enforcement while undermining the efficacy and role of prevention in achieving community safety.

Over a three-year period (2018-2020), P.I. will engage local practitioners and coalitions and national networks to:

  1. Capture and disseminate the successes and methods of the last decade in advancing a public health approach to preventing violence.
  2. Continue to innovate and make progress in implementing public health approaches to preventing violence in cities throughout the U.S.
  3. Amplify support for public health approaches and counter an emergent national narrative that diminishes the role of prevention and public health in achieving community safety.

Activities to achieve these objectives include:

  • Facilitate peer learning and provide responsive technical assistance to support continued innovation to advance the impact and sustainability of public health approaches to preventing violence.
  • Develop and widely disseminate briefs, tools, profiles, blogs, podcasts, and other media to tell the story of the evolution and methods of a public health approach, lift up successes, and catalyze further understanding, support, and action. For example, in 2018, with input from partners and a literature scan, P.I. synthesized and disseminated recommendations to prevent multiple forms of gun violence.
  • Align with and leverage national networks and local leadership and further engage public health as participants and leaders to amplify a unified voice.
  • Author joint statements and documents with partners and disseminate via conferences, media, and other platforms.

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