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National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence

Mar 30, 2007

More than 1,000 leading health and violence prevention experts from 30 countries gathered in San Francisco for the 2007 National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence earlier this month, hearing from former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, activist Denise Brown, Medscape Editor in Chief George Lundberg, Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) President Esta Soler, and Congresswoman Lois Capps, among others. The Conference featured new research and strategies to prevent domestic, sexual and dating violence and help victims. It was presented by the FVPF and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

Ninety medical social workers from the U.S. Air Force, as well as health care providers, researchers, advocates, policy makers and others participated in workshops and plenary sessions that addressed the latest research and most innovative clinical responses to domestic violence.

“At this Conference, we are looking at critical issues that shape our world,” said FVPF President Esta Soler. “How we can improve the health care response to violence, help children who witness abuse, encourage even more men to teach boys that violence is always wrong, and fully fund the programs in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that offer so much promise to keep the next generation safe. We’re asking whether our nation is doing enough to support veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, and stop the gender-based violence that fuels the worldwide pandemic of HIV/AIDS. We are involving lawmakers, funders and new partners in this work because we are determined to find answers that give us better ways to keep women and children safe.”

Honorees

Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) and Blue Shield of California CEO Bruce Bodaken were honored at a gala reception at the Asian Art Museum. At the reception, Congresswoman Capps said, “We will not tolerate violence against women… [Congress] needs to re-order our agenda – we will fund VAWA.” Capps commended the work of advocates is, “Not just against violence, but for something, for the way we want to live.”

Nancy Glass of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing received the first-ever Linda E. Saltzman New Investigator Award.

Other honorees included Bill Riley, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Anne Ganley, former faculty member at the University of Washington who founded the first inpatient batterers’ intervention program in the U.S.; and Peter Sawires, formerly with Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

Remarks

Opening keynote speaker George Lundberg, Medscape Editor in Chief, discussed improvements in tracking domestic violence, and encouraging new findings from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which show that intimate partner violence declined from 1993 to 2004. Lundberg said, “What you’re doing seems to be working, keep it up… Remain energized…go forth and do good work, your cause is just.” For information on the BJS data, visit www.endabuse.org/newsflash/index.php3?Search=Article&NewsFlashID=832.

Advocate Denise Brown said “We need you – physicians – to understand the dynamics of domestic violence.” Brown said her years as an advocate after the murder of her sister, Nicole Brown, taught her two things, “I’m not alone in my loss, and that I’m not alone in my journey against domestic violence.”

“Mostly we want to find out how to prevent this problem in the first place,” former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher said, adding, “We’ve got to bridge the gap between what we know and what we do.”

Issues Addressed

Sessions at the Conference addressed:

  • Gender Based Violence and HIV: Stories from Home and Abroad.
  • On the Frontlines: War, Trauma and Family Violence.
  • The Tipping Point: New Findings on Intimate Partner Violence, Costs and Quality of Care.
  • Engaging Men and Boys: Advancing Health and Family Violence Prevention.
  • Impacting the Next Generation: Promoting Resiliency in Reproductive and Adolescent Health Settings.
  • Promoting Victim Safety in the Health Setting: Benefits, Harms and Misperceptions about Assessment and Intervention.

Pre-conference sessions highlighted effective responses to family violence and in-depth institutes explored new policy, research and educational approaches to violence prevention. These sessions examined Abuse in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities; Research Priorities; Home Visitation Programs; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence; Mental Health Issues; and more.

“Stopping domestic and family violence is essential to improving women's health,” said UCSF Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost A. Eugene Washington. “Violence is an issue that in some way affects every community, every family and every institution. I am so pleased that the National Center of Excellence in Women's Health – a women's health leader at UCSF – is co-sponsoring this Conference, which is bringing together leading academics and practitioners to find innovative new ways to prevent violence and keep families safe.”

The 2007 National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence was sponsored by Blue Shield of California, Verizon Wireless, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health. It is a program of the FVPF’s National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. The Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence is also supported by funds from DHHS’s Indian Health Services, DHHS’s Office on Women’s Health and The California Endowment.

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