Future Public Health Professionals Learn About Youth Violence Prevention

Alison Grodzinski Blog Posts 16 Comments

We are pleased report on another successful semester of HBHE 680. This course, which provides students with an introduction to youth violence prevention in the context of public health, is a key component of the training core of the Michigan YVPC. It is offered every winter term to students in the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and is taught by Dr. Sarah Stoddard.

Dr. Stoddard states that “for many of the students, this is their first exposure to youth violence prevention practice and theory.” She invites speakers to class that represent a wide range of expertise. “The students have a variety of interests, from dating violence to bullying to gun safety. This course offers the opportunity to learn from researchers studying different forms of youth violence as well as practitioners implementing interventions in the community.”

This semester, guest speakers and topics included:

  • Rebecca Cunningham, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine – Emergency Department Approaches to Violence Prevention
  • Eric Dubow, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University and Adjunct Research Scientist, Institute of Social Research, University of Michigan – Contagion of Collective Violence: Contagion from Ethnic-Political Violence to Other Forms of Aggression and Violence
  • Cheryl King, PhD, Department of Psychiatry – Youth Suicide
  • Robert Lipton, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine – Spatial Analysis and Youth Violence
  • Susan Morrel-Samuels MPH, MA, Managing Director, Prevention Research Center – Firearms and Violence
  • Edmund McGarrell, PhD, Michigan State University – Youth Violence from a Criminal Justice Perspective/Community Policing
  • Desmond Patton, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Michigan
  • Pat Smith, M.S., Michigan Department of Community Health – National Violent Death Reporting System
  • Lori Thompson, Artistic Director, The Bullycide Project, Flint MI
  • Richard Tolman, LMSW, PhD, School of Social Work – Dating Violence
  • Maureen Walton, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry – Substance use and Violence
  • Marc Zimmerman, PhD, Professor and Chair, Health Behavior and Health Education – Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center

Toward the end of the semester, students had the opportunity to watch and discuss the nationally acclaimed film, The Interrupters. The film, which tells the story of three young adults working to prevent violence in Chicago, is intended to engage audiences around the structural causes of street violence, and creative approaches for interrupting the cycle of retaliatory violence. Many of the students reported that the film helped them see how what they learned about in class was relevant and how the theory could be applied in real life situations.

Students also had several opportunities to write  and discuss their own ideas about youth violence prevention on the HBHE 680 class blog. All students are required to write at least one blog post on a topic of interest. They also read and write comments on each others’ posts. This semester’s topics included gun legislation as well as dating violence, bullying and violence in media.

To learn more about HBHE 680 and to read the class blog visit: https://yvpc.sph.umich.edu/training-and-education/

Comments 16

  1. Participating in a class that presents the information needed for any student to succeed is valuable! A class that applies real life situations in our community is a great way for topics such as youth violence to be understood. Violence prevention can teach many students and people within the Michigan community that in order to prevent violence, one must understand the reasons behind this occurring problem. People with the proper knowledge can gives us the insight that is needed to understand the various aspects of youth violence. Theory applications can also demonstrate that youth violence is a diverse cause that occurs within various U.S. communities. Wish more classes offered the hands on information that this class offers!

  2. I think that any major which will be involved with youth should be required to take a class about youth violence prevention. Public health professionals come across youth violence all the time, therefore they should be able to know how to recognize and prevent it. The topics mentioned in the article, such as, bullying, dating violence, and violence in the media seem to be the most prevalent in this generation of youth. Keeping the class up to date on the most common types of youth violence at the moment is very important. As well having guest speakers with the expertise in specific topics of youth violence can help the students take in information from a different perspective.

  3. A course like HBHE 680 is a great class. However, not only college students can benefit from this class, I think that classes similar to this should be taught at all grade levels. Classes like HBHE 680 bring awareness to real problem in a classroom setting. It is always better to learn about a problem in a classroom, than to learn about it through another tragic event in the news. It is great idea to have professionals as guest speakers in the class. Dr. Stoddard said that for many students, it is their first exposure to youth violence prevention practice and theory. Im assuming that she is talking about young adults, since it is a university course. Learning about prevention practice and theory of youth violence as young adults is great, but I think kids of all ages can benefit from learning about the same subjects. Teaching individuals of all ages about youth prevention, theory and that they can be part of the solution and not the problem, is beneficial to all.

  4. Youth violence is the second leading cause of death for young people. The goal should always be to prevent it from occurring, and to stop it if it is already occurring. This course seems like it would provide the necessary tools to identify and address youth violence. Public health professionals are given the responsibility of protecting the health of the community against possible hazards. Youth violence is considered to be a hazard, and courses like these are necessary for public health professionals.

  5. I believe that offering this class can help as an eye opener and a rewarding class to many students. The reason being is because this gives people a chance to open up and touch topics that they have maybe never thought about talking about. Violence prevention should always be a topic of importance because young adults aren’t very educated on this, thus making them more prone to this type of violence. Not knowing how to protect yourself or not knowing if you are stuck in a harmful relationship can cause serious problems to ones mental health. With this class being offered, people get an insight on how to detect violence and bad relationships. On the other hand, i believe this class is a very beneficial idea for reducing crime and the fear of crime within young adults. Good article!

  6. I believe that this will be very beneficial to students and help them in many ways. It will definitely raise awareness in the community and prevent violence. In addition, I believe that showing the students the film, the Interrupters will help them connect what they learned and apply it while watching the film. This course, HBHE 680 should be a required course to be taken in Michigan. If that were the case, there would be more awareness on the issue and more crime would be prevented. All in all, I feel that HBHE 680 is a great class and will benefit those who are learning as well as the community.

  7. This is something that will be very beneficial in lowering violence in the area. It is important to be involved within the community and identify instances in which one should step in and intervene. An issue such as this is one that deserves attention. A course such as this gives this sense of community and awareness and it is important for people to come together in preventing violence amongst youths. This should be a required course because it can be beneficial in aiding to decrease crime and furthermore it teaches methods on crime reporting as well as informs individuals on facilities that can help in certain violence situations.

  8. From a practical standpoint, this course sounds great because the material focuses on targeting and rehabilitating methods for possible deviant youth before they get into adulthood. I’m also very glad that such a class exists that has utility in a public health setting where it talks about mental health, and living conditions of those being targeted, but also criminal justice where those that slip through the cracks can be found and helped by officers. One thing that really astounded me was the sheer volume of guest speakers, and the range of professions that were represented in them. It is important in any college-level course to not just focus on a single theory or method, but to receive a well-rounded picture to take all things into consideration when the time comes to put learning to use, which seems to be effectively presented in their curriculum.

  9. Being aware of youth violence and the need to stop it from happening is important in any community. I think that the school is doing the right thing by offering this course because it gives students insight on something that they obviously know little about, in hopes that it will curtail attempts to display violence towards youth. Also, I think that bringing in guest speakers is one of the best things they could have done, because it allows students to hear about real life experiences, making it easier for them to relate reality to the what is being taught to them. Just as it is with any crime, increasing awareness of the crime is the first step to solving the problem. I think the kids in these classes have the perfect opportunity to make a difference in their community by using the information that is given to the,. Also, I think more and more schools should offer this course in order to increase awareness. I believe that that would cause a drop in crime rate towards children as well. Lastly, courses like this are also beneficial because they promote an environment for feedback from the students learning the material.

  10. A course such as HBHE 680 should be a requirement for those whose major deal with public safety or juveniles. Speaking as a college student, guest speakers have the greatest impact on better understanding the material that is being taught in class. Guest speakers give a first-hand experience and are able to answer one’s questions that may not necessarily be easy to answer through an online search. Guest speakers combined with students sharing their individual experience benefit the students in better understanding youth violence from different perspectives. With students learning methods to prevent or reduce youth violence, it may contribute to a slight decrease in crime in that area. If victims of youth violence are aware that there is help for them when needed, they will feel safer in their own community. Juvenile delinquents are around the age in which the highest peak of crime occurs, and if youth violence problems are addressed, it can reduce the likelihood that those delinquents continue participating in criminal behaviors in their adult life.

  11. I think this is a great way to get the community involved. Classes that apply real situations are not commonly found in schools nowadays. This provides a more hands on experience and relative way of understanding youth violence. I wish they provided a class similar to this at CSUF because it is important to figure out the root problem that leads to youth violence. A prevention program would be beneficial to the community that is at risk, but in order to create a solution we need to figure what is leading juveniles to act in such ways. Starting this in a classroom setting can be very effective in reducing not only juvenile crime, but adult crime as well. I wish everyone taking this course luck and I’m anxious to read more about how their knowledge is being used toward their Michigan community.

  12. This youth prevention course is an absolute great idea. I wish we had more of these programs in California. What a great way to get in tough with the you and inform them with prevention strategies. Not only is this a great idea but it seems to be a great success. Not alot of cities have these prevention courses that are offered

  13. I believe this course is extremely important and should be taught at all levels of schooling. I think it would be beneficial to get the parents involved in this course as well. This will help both parents and students become aware of the early signs bullying, suicide, dating violence, and substances abuse before it is too late. In addition, they will not only get educated on these issues, but also learn of all the different resources that are there to help. It would be a great idea to implement this course nationwide. Early intervention would be a smart way to drop the rates of youth violence.

  14. In general any type of awareness is beneficial for society that set the standards for individuals. This would serve as a wake up call for the congressman to realize that we have an issue that harms our youth which is the future of this nation. As in the case of those adults in the streets of Chicago who raise their voice and took affirmative action. Also the youth would have a better understanding of good and bad action that would eventually led them to the right path in life. The knowledge passed on to the youth would help reduce violence among themselves .

  15. I think classes such as this one on youth violence prevention are some of the most important in a criminal justice program. Learning how to work from the bottom, up, with kids has a huge potential for positive results. Kids, unlike adults, are able to be candid and tell you what is really bothering them. Classes like these allow for the academic world to meet the real world and classes preventing youth violence not only allow the adults to help the kids, but for the kids to help the adults.

  16. It is very important to keep the community involved and informed about what is going on in the community. Keeping the new generation of the community informed and engaged is just as important. I think this is a good way to keep the community aware of what really is going on. It seems though, that because this is a college class, the information may not reach those that critically need the information. This is definitely a good way of starting an engagement with the community. This could potentially lead to the community fixing itself and figuring out solutions to the problems that plague the community. Hopefully, these classes are successful and they are able to create a collaboration with other groups, agencies, and social programs to engage people to create solutions. This is definitely a good step in the right direction for success in this community.