Apr 4, 2011
CONTACT Luci Manning

Leading Health Experts to Discuss the Ways Violence and Abuse Affect Patient and Public Health at Congressional Briefing

Lunch Briefing to Explore How Health Care System Can Better Prevent, Respond to Violence

The National Health Collaborative on Violence and Abuse (NHCVA) will host a lunch briefing Thursday on how to improve the capacity of the health system to prevent and address the impact of violence and abuse. NHCVA is comprised of 26 health organizations, including leadership from the AMA, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

At the briefing, held during National Public Health Week 2011, experts will discuss the long-term health impact of abuse, and the need for prevention to be integrated into the national public health agenda. Speakers also will highlight Project Connect: A Coordinated Public Health Initiative to Prevent Violence Against Women, funded in part from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, with support from the Administration on Children and Families. Project Connect will be featured as an innovative approach and model program demonstrating the health system’s response to violence. The briefing will be held:

NOON to 1:30 PM on Thursday, April 7
U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Room H201
Jacquelyn Campbell, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D., American Medical Association House of Delegates
Corinne Graffunder, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Aleisha Langhorne, M.P.H., MHSA, HHS Office of Women’s Health
Gloria Terry, Texas Council on Family Violence
Tasneem Ismailji, M.D., M.P.H., Academy on Violence and Abuse

“Preventing and responding to violence is a high priority for the American Medical Association and for many other health providers because the evidence is so clear that keeping patients safe improves health and helps patients avoid any number of serious and long-lasting health problems,” said Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., speaker of the AMA’s House of Delegates. “The more we invest in violence prevention, the healthier our nation will be.”

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH) are honorary Co-Chairs of the event.

“The evidence shows that the Violence Against Women Act is working,” says Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler. “Over the past 15 years, we have finally begun to make progress as domestic and sexual violence has started to decline. But there is still more work to be done,” Soler continued. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conservatively estimates that intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking costs the health care system $8.3 billion annually from direct injuries and services. In addition to the immediate trauma caused by abuse, it contributes to a number of chronic health problems. The CDC classifies violence and abuse as a “substantial public health problem in the United States.”

The health system provides an important entry point to reduce violence and abuse and can improve the health status of women. However, without training and support on how to assess and respond, providers are not routinely assessing and responding to abuse, missing an important opportunity to help victims and prevent more serious abuse.

In the last reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2005, a new health title was included to develop a public health response to abuse by strengthening the health care system’s identification, assessment and response to victims. With VAWA set to expire this year, Representative Slaughter plans to introduce a bill, entitled “Violence Against Women Health Initiative,” to reauthorize the health program in VAWA.

Note: The briefing is open to media and lunch will be served.

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The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at

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