October 1, 2008

New APHA Book Advances Field of Youth Violence Prevention

By Johnson, Teddi Dineley

ACROSS the nation, violent crimes have declined significantly since 1990, but homicide remains the second leading cause of death among youths ages 10 to 24. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Sta- tistics, adolescents and young adults are dispropor- tionately victimized by firearm-related homicide. But while protocols for identifying cases of intimate partner violence, child abuse and substance abuse have all been implemented in emergency departments, protocols for identifying cases of youth violence "lag behind these other public health issues," according to a new APHA book. Youth and young adults are not only victims of violent crimes, they also perpetrate these crimes said the new book, "Youth Violence: Interventions for Health Care Providers," which provides a public health perspective on intentional youth violence. The June book provides a comprehensive review of the causes and consequences of intentional youth violence and identifies evidence-based prevention and intervention programs that can be used by health care professionals, especially those working in emergency departments.

Youth violence continues to be a major public health concern, said Robert D. Ketterlinus, PhD, who edited the book and authored several of its chapters in an effort to address a "gap in the literature on youth violence prevention," specifically a description of emergency department-based interventions. The book will help hospital emergency departments and allied health care professionals implement community-based youth violence prevention initiatives, he said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6,000 U.S. youths ages 10 to 24 were murdered in 2005, or about 16 each day, and homicide was the second leading cause of death for young people in that age group. Among the victims of homicide, 82 percent were killed with a firearm and most of the victims were male.

"And there are large health disparities in homicide among these age groups," Ketterlinus said, noting that homicide is the leading cause of death for blacks and the second leading cause of death for Hispanics.

Intentional youth violence is "violence that does not include suicide or accidental violence," said Ketterlinus, an APHA member and Philadelphia-based consultant who specializes in program evaluations and grants in social services, human services and public health.

"(Intentional youth violence) is violence typically between youth that covers ages 10 to the late 20s," Ketterlinus said. "It also includes, in addition to gun violence, fighting. The injuries are serious enough for the youth to end up in an emergency department or in the hospital."

The book-will likely appeal to a broad authence, including health care professionals working in medicine, social work and mental health, as well as administrators, advocates and community service providers, said Ketterlinus, a developmental psychologist with more than 20 years of experience conducting research and program evaluations in early childhood, adolescent and lifespan development.

"Health care professionals can use the information in the book to design their own programs, so they aren't reinventing the wheel," Ketterlinus said. "There are a lot of lessonslearned in the book, and materials that can be adapted for their own programs."

To buy the book, visit wwwr.aphabookstore.org. The price is $28.50 for APHA members and $38.50 for others.

- Teddi Dineley Johnson

Copyright American Public Health Association Sep 2008

(c) 2008 Nation's Health, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.