Public Health Model Can Reduce Violence, Says Baltimore Health Commissioner
In cities across the country, there’s growing awareness that an effective way to reduce urban violence is to approach it comprehensively as a public health issue. Baltimore City has been working to do that, and Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot says its street outreach/conflict mediation program has had an impact.
Prevention Institute’s UNITY initiative recently released a new publication on the Safe Streets Baltimore program. In this publication, Dr. Barbot describes how the program reduced violence in the neighborhoods where it was adopted. One neighborhood went nearly two years without a homicide, and non-fatal shootings dropped by more than one-third.
“What we’re doing in Baltimore conveys the power of public health in preventing violence,” said Dr. Barbot. “We’ve seen reductions in shootings because the Safe Streets program acts in concert with traditional public health principles—changing social norms, reducing risk, and providing alternatives to violent behavior.”
This latest publication was based on Dr. Barbot’s remarks at a congressional briefing on the public health approach to preventing violence, co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian and Pacific American Caucus and UNITY.
Browse the City Voices and Perspectives series to gain insights on ways cities are working to prevent violence using the public health approach. Here are a few staff favorites: