Public Health - Violence
4:27 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Wash U. To Host Conference On Violence And Public Health

Washington University is hosting a conference tomorrow afternoon on public health challenges in the 21st century.

Melissa Jonson-Reid directs Wash U's Brown Center for Violence and Injury Prevention.

She says one challenge the conference will take on is the problem of violence in St. Louis, and the role local public health professionals can play in addressing it.

"It's bringing folks' attention to the idea that violence is a public health problem, not just a law enforcement, or not just a social service problem, but really a multi-disciplinary public health issue," Jonson-Reid said.

One of the conference panelists is Norman White, who directs the undergraduate criminal justice program at Saint Louis University.

He says violence doesn't just hurt the direct victims of crime - it can affect the health of entire communities.

“It's not safe to go out in the street,” White said. “It's a health problem because senior citizens can't go out and walk, just to be healthy, that children don't go out and play, or they constrain the times that they do that.”

White says rather than just cracking down on violence as a crime, communities should treat it as health problem in need of healing.

Tomorrow’s conference is free and open to the public. You can see the full agenda here.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience