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Project Information

Project Information

Forum on Global Violence Prevention

Project Scope:

The Institute of Medicine Board on Global Health, in collaboration with the IOM/DBASSE Board on Children, Youth, and Families, and the DBASSE Committee on Law and Justice, will establish a multidisciplinary Forum on Global Violence Prevention.  The Forum will engage in dialogue and discussion that will emphasize exploration of cross-cutting issues pertinent to the following seven categories of violence: child abuse, elder abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, youth violence, collective violence, and self-directed violence.  The primary geographic focus will be low and middle income countries. 

The forum will have the following functions:   

1. To provide a core group of domestic and international governmental and private sector stakeholders an ongoing, regular, evidence-based, impartial, scientific setting for the multidisciplinary exchange of information and ideas concerning violence prevention, especially in low-income and middle-income countries;

2.  To illuminate for IOM’s consideration policy, research, and practice priorities worthy of further study or investment; and

3. Through workshops that would be separately organized and undertaken by IOM at the Forum’s request, to get informed on the scientific basis and public health needs pertinent to global violence prevention.


Status: Completed

PIN: IOM-BGH-09-01

RSO: Hamilton, Liza


Behavioral and Social Sciences
Health and Medicine
Policy for Science and Technology

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Hortensia d. Amaro - (Co-Chair)
Hortensia Amaro, Ph.D., is Distinguished University Professor and Senior Scholar on Community Health at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at Florida International University. Previously she was Associate Vice-Provost and Dean’s Professor at the University of Southern California; Distinguished Professor, Associate Dean and Director of the Institute on Urban Health Research at the Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, and professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. She received her doctoral degree in psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1982 and was awarded Honorary Doctoral Degrees in Humane Letters by Simmons College and by the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Over the last 37 years, Dr. Amaro’s work has focused on improving the connections between research and public health practice in the areas of treatment of substance use disorders, mental health and trauma, and HIV prevention among minority and low-income women. Her research has resulted in over 175 scientific publications and the development of a broad array of community-based treatment programs and treatment approaches including the Boston Consortium Model of integrated treatment for substance use and mental health disorders among women with trauma histories. Her ground-breaking work has been broadly recognized by over 30 major awards including election to the National Academy of Medicine, has informed models of integrated substance use treatment for women and HIV prevention for women within the U.S. and internationally. She served as Vice Chair of the board of the Boston Public Health Commission for 12 years and served on review and advisory committees to the National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consultant on SUDs for the State Department’s Latin America programs, and as associate editor of the American Journal of Public Health, Psychology of Women Quarterly and the American Psychologist.
James A. Mercy - (Co-Chair)
James A. Mercy, Ph.D., is the Director of the Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. In this role, he provides leadership to innovative research and science-based programs to prevent violence and reduce its consequences. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology from Emory University. Dr. Mercy has worked to develop the public health approach to violence prevention for more than 35 years. Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Mercy oversaw global activities in DVP and implemented surveys on violence against children in developing countries as part of a global partnership called Together for Girls with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the World Health Organization (WHO), and others. As a researcher, Dr. Mercy has authored more than 200 publications that span the areas of child maltreatment, youth and intimate partner violence, homicide, suicide, and assault-related injuries. He has received honors from CDC, the Public Health Service (PHS) and Research America for his sustained outstanding leadership in bringing about the recognition of violence as a public health problem. He also served as a co-editor of the World Report on Violence and Health prepared by WHO and on the Editorial Board of the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Study of Violence Against Children.
Gary Barker
Gary Barker, Ph.D., M.P.P., is President and CEO of Promundo. He has conducted extensive global research and program development around engaging men and boys in gender equality and violence prevention, and is a leading voice for the worldwide effort to establish positive, healthy dynamics between men and women. Dr. Barker is the co-founder of MenCare, a global campaign to promote men’s involvement as equitable, non-violent caregivers, and co-founder of MenEngage, a global alliance of more than 700 NGOs and UN agencies working toward gender equality. He coordinates IMAGES (the International Men and Gender Equality Survey), a pioneering multi-country survey of men’s attitudes and behaviors related to violence, fatherhood, and gender equality, among other themes. He is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Men’s Leaders Network and has been honored with an Ashoka Fellowship, a fellowship from the Open Society Institute, and the Vital Voices Solidarity Award. Dr. Barker earned a Ph.D. in child and adolescent development from Loyola University in Chicago and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University.
Theresa Betancourt
Theresa S. Betancourt, Sc.D., M.A., is the inaugural Salem Professor in Global Practice at the Boston College School of Social Work and Director of the Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA). Her central research interests include the developmental and psychosocial consequences of concentrated adversity on children, youth and families; resilience and protective processes in child and adolescent mental health and child development; refugee families; and applied cross-cultural mental health research. She is Principal Investigator of an intergenerational study of war-affected youth and families in Sierra Leone (LSWAY). This research led to the development of a group mental health intervention for war-affected youth that demonstrated effectiveness for improving emotion regulation, daily functioning and school functioning. This intervention, the Youth Readiness Intervention (YRI), is now at the core of a scale-up study within youth employment programs now underway in collaboration with the World Bank and Government of Sierra Leone as part of the NIMH-funded Mental Health Services and Implementation Science Research Hub called Youth FORWARD. Dr. Betancourt has also developed and evaluated the impact of a Family Strengthening Intervention for HIV-affected children and families and is leading the investigation of a home-visiting early childhood development intervention to promote enriched parent-child relationships and prevent violence that can be integrated within poverty reduction/social protection initiatives in Rwanda. In the U.S., she is engaged in community-based participatory research of family-based prevention of emotional and behavioral problems in refugee children and adolescents, through the collaborative development and evaluation of parenting programs led by refugees, for refugees, that can be linked to prevention services involving refugee community health workers.
Marian Betz
Marian (Emmy) Betz, M.D., M.P.H., conducts research in injury prevention, with specific interests in the role of healthcare providers in (1) older driver safety and (2) suicide prevention. Dr. Betz is currently receiving support from the National Institute on Aging (through a Paul Beeson Career Development Award) and is the 2014-15 President of the Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine (Society of Academic Emergency Medicine). Her current focus is on the use of mixed methods to developed a tiered evaluation system for older drivers, and she has also worked extensively in the area of “lethal means restriction” for suicide prevention. Dr. Betz also teaches medical and graduate students and residents about injury prevention and geriatrics.
Jacquelyn C. Campbell
Jacquelyn Campbell, R.N., Ph.D., M.S.N., is a national leader in research and advocacy in the field of domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV). She has authored or co-authored more than 260 publications and seven books on violence and trauma and health outcomes. Her studies paved the way for a growing body of interdisciplinary investigations by researchers in the disciplines of nursing, medicine, and public health. Her expertise is frequently sought by national and international policy makers in exploring IPV and other forms of violence and their health effects on families and communities. As a nurse educator and mentor, Dr. Campbell leads by example in inspiring new generations of nurse researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Her B.S.N., M.S.N., and Ph.D. are from Duke University, Wright State University, and the University of Rochester. She teaches an undergraduate and MSN elective in Family Violence as well as in the Ph.D. program and is the PI of an NIH-funded (T32) fellowship that provides funding for pre- and post-doctoral fellows in violence research. Elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2000, Dr. Campbell also was the Institute of Medicine/American Academy of Nursing/American Nurses' Foundation Senior Scholar in Residence and was founding Co-Chair of the IOM Forum on the Prevention of Global Violence. She is on the of the Board of Directors for the Futures without Violence is an active member of the Johns Hopkins Women’s Health Research Group, and has served on the board for the House of Ruth Battered Women's Shelter and four other shelters. She was also a member of the congressionally appointed U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence.
Mary Ellsberg
Mary Ellsberg, Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Global Women's Institute at George Washington University. Dr. Ellsberg has more than 30 years of experience in international research and programs on gender and development. Before joining the University in August 2012, Dr. Ellsberg served as vice president for research and programs at the International Center for Research on Women. Dr. Ellsberg’s deep connection to global gender issues stems not only from her academic work but also from living in Nicaragua for nearly 20 years leading public health and women’s rights advocacy. She was a member of the core research team of the World Health Organization’s Multi-Country Study on Domestic Violence and Women’s Heath, and she has authored more than 40 books and articles on violence against women and girls. Dr. Ellsberg earned a doctorate in epidemiology and public health from Umea University in Sweden and a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from Yale University.
Jennifer Gonzalez
Jennifer Gonzalez, Ph.D., M.S., is associate professor of epidemiology, human genetics, and environmental sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in the School of Public Health.
Deborah Gorman-Smith
Deborah Gorman-Smith, Ph.D., is the Dean and Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at the University of Chicago. She is also the Principal Investigator and Director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, one of 6 National Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Center, based at SSA, is devoted to studying and stemming the underlying causes of youth violence through evidence-based, collaborative interventions that focus on families and communities, linking them with schools, the justice system, social service agencies and policy makers. Gorman-Smith is currently or has been Principal or co-Principal investigator on several longitudinal risk and prevention studies funded by NICHD, NIMH, NIDA, SAMHSA and the William T. Grant Foundation. She is immediate Past-President for the Society for Prevention Research and has served on a number of national and international boards and committees including the Board of Scientific Counselors of the Injury Prevention Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Gorman-Smith has published extensively in areas related to youth violence, including the developmental impact of exposure to violence, the relationship between neighborhood characteristics, family functioning and aggression and violence and the effects of family-focused, school-based and community-level preventive interventions.
Sheldon Greenberg
Sheldon Greenberg, Ph.D., M.Ed., is Professor of Management and Leadership at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Education, and is the founding director of the School’s Division of Public Safety Leadership. He also serves as Deputy Director of the National Criminal Justice Technology Research, Test and Evaluation Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and is Senior Advisor to the Baltimore Violence Reduction Collaborative. Dr. Greenberg holds joint appointments in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Gun Policy and Research and Center for Law and the Public’s Health. He is also a member of the Collaborating Faculty in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. Dr. Greenberg’s research has focused on frontline police operations, specifically uniformed patrol; the relationship of police and the public’s health; public safety administration; managing individual and community fear; and campus and school safety. In addition, he has led national efforts to advance law enforcement technology. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Greenberg served as Associate Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in Washington, D.C., a leading law enforcement research center and think tank. He began his career in the Howard County (MD) Police Department, where he served as a patrol officer, supervisor, director of the police academy, director of research and planning, assistant to the chief of police, and commander of the administrative services bureau. He is a founding member and past president of the Maryland Crime Prevention Association. Dr. Greenberg serves on several national and state commissions, boards, and work groups and is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, Forum on Global Violence Prevention. He recently completed two terms as a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation Board. For over fifteen years, he has served as Coordinator of the Regional Police Field Commanders Forum and Regional Criminal Investigations Commanders Forum, and as Moderator of the Maryland Chiefs and Sheriffs Roundtable. He has written four books including his most recent, Frontline Policing in the 21st Century: Mastery of Police Patrol (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
Maria I. Gutierrez Martinez
Maria Isabel Gutierrez Martinez, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., is a professor at the School of Public Health at the Universidad del Valle and researcher at the Institute for Research and Development in Violence Prevention and Promotion of Social Coexistence, CISALVA, of Universidad del Valle, where she was director between 2000 and 2017. During her leadership, the research institute was granted the Carlos Slim Award in Health in 2009 as an Exceptional Institution. She has been a consultant for international agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Office against Drug and Crime (UNODC), in the design and development of strategies to identify and prevent injuries due to external causes and injuries caused by traffic events. She has authored and co-authored more than a hundred publications in different indexed scientific journals, nationally and internationally, and has participated as a speaker in seminars and conferences around the world during her more than 24 years of professional life.
Elizabeth J. Letourneau
Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Ph.D., is the inaugural director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and a professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For more than 25 years she has led research on child sexual abuse prevention, policy, and practice, including NIH awards supporting four randomized intervention trials. She presently leads a new 5-year NIH-funded project designed to overcome the public’s misperceptions about child sexual abuse and a new CDC-funded project evaluating the effects of national health care policy on the prevention of sexual and nonsexual violence. Her work was mentioned in a popular This American Life podcast ( and in Dr. Letourneau’s 2016 TEDMED talk ( Dr. Letourneau has participated in the development of state, national, and international policy and policy recommendations regarding the prevention of child sexual abuse, serving as a member of a World Health Organization Guidelines Development Group, an expert witness for the Australia Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and as an expert at national and state congressional briefings. She currently leads several research studies that focus on developing and validating primary prevention interventions targeting at-risk populations for child sexual abuse perpetration.
Brigid McCaw
Brigid McCaw, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., FACP, is the Medical Director of the Family Violence Prevention Program for Kaiser Permanente, Northern California Region. She oversees the implementation of a comprehensive, coordinated approach for improving screening, identification, and services for family violence. She guides the national Kaiser Permanente efforts in this area, impacting 12 million members. Dr. McCaw’s leadership, research, and publications focus on developing a health systems response to family violence, adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), and trauma informed care. She received her MD from the University of California, San Francisco, and her M.S. and M.P.H. from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Past President of the National Health Collaborative on Violence and Abuse, and a member of the Forum on Global Violence Prevention, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
Corinne Peek-Asa
Corinne Peek-Asa, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Associate Dean for Research for the University of Iowa College of Public Health and professor in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, where she oversees more than 66 research faculty and staff in the UI Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) Dr. Peek-Asa’s area of expertise is injury and violence prevention. She has conducted research in the areas of global road traffic safety, interpersonal violence, workplace violence, residential fire injuries, poisoning, and acute care. Her work has included surveillance; risk factor identification; design, implementation, and evaluation of prevention programs; design and evaluation of safety policy; and, translation and dissemination methods. Dr. Peek-Asa received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of New Mexico, and her Master’s in Public Health and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was on the faculty in the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA before joining the University of Iowa in 2001. Dr. Peek-Asa is the past-President of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research and received the SAVIR President’s Award in 2011. She was named a 2009 ResearchAmerica! Public Health Hero and received the College of Public Health Faculty Service Award in 2011. She currently serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Driver Education Committee of the Transportation Research Board.
Howard Taylor
Howard Taylor, Ph.D., M.Sc., is Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, a UN-hosted initiative to end all forms of violence against every child, wherever in the world they live. Dr. Taylor is passionate about positive social change at scale. He has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe and the US, where he has led a global corporate foundation, established a creative social enterprise, and built government teams – all to measurably improve the lives of millions of people. As Vice-President and Managing Director of the Nike Foundation, Dr. Taylor led the development and delivery of the Foundation's strategy, programs, partnerships and advocacy. He was the driving force behind the successful spin-out of Girl Effect as an independent, creative social business that uses branded mass and social media, technology and data to change behaviors and tackle negative social norms. Prior to Nike, Dr. Taylor held senior roles across the UK Government, including at the Department for International Development (DFID), Cabinet Office and Foreign Office. He was Chief of Staff to two Secretaries of State for International Development, and led DFID’s largest country programs, in India and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, he co-chaired the Development Assistance Group, responsible for coordinating the most impactful investment of over $3 billion/year of official development assistance to Ethiopia. Dr. Taylor is on the European Board of Mercy Corps and the Board of WePROTECT. He is married with two children, and enjoys sports, music, politics, and pursuing inspirational ideas that can change the world.
Polly W. Wiessner
Polly Wiessner, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Michigan in 1977. She is currently is a Professor of Anthropology at ASU and the University of Utah. Over the past forty years, she has conducted research among the !Kung (Ju/'hoansi) Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert on social networks and means of conflict resolution. She is currently studying conversations and activities that take place after dark to understand how extending the day with firelight enhanced human sociality. For the past thirty-four years, she has carried out ethnohistorical studies among the Enga of highland Papua New Guinea (PNG), tracing developments in warfare, ritual, and exchange that occurred from the time from the introduction of the sweet potato some four hundred years ago until present. Since 1990, she has studied changes in warfare after cultural traditions containing war broke down with the replacement of bows and arrows by high-powered weapons wielded by youths. In the past 10 years, she has been researching how customary courts in the plural justice system of PNG are tackling the problems of modern warfare, domestic violence, rape, child abuse and other forms of violence in the face of rapid culture change.
Stephanie Alexander - (Ex Officio Member)
Stephanie Alexander, M.S., has worked with Federal, State and local health departments developing, designing, and coordinating various health promotion programs for the past 15 years. As the division chief for the Data Analysis and Program Evaluation Division, Ms. Alexander oversaw the compilation of descriptive statistical information and analysis in order to guide policies for implementation of effective maternal and child health programs within the District of Columbia. Her role in this capacity consisted of providing data analysis and program evaluation functions for Title V, Women’s Health, Cancer and Chronic Disease, Perinatal and Infant Health, Nutrition and Physical Fitness, and last—however, not at all least—the Children and Adolescent School Health Bureau. Her responsibilities included assisting with the crafting of data protocols, surveys/needs assessments, program planning, implementation, development of performance measures, data analysis and evaluation. As a prevention specialist with the Division of Preventive Research and Analytical Methods, Ms. Alexander worked with relevant Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs and various automotive companies to create multi-component interventions designed to increase the use of influenza vaccinations among high-risk individuals. Ms. Alexander was commended for her deliverance of public health programs and received the Montgomery’s Best Honor Award in 2004 by the National Association of County Organizations for her efforts in coordinating and implementing cardiovascular health initiatives in Montgomery County. In addition, she received the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2002 for her contributions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Ms. Alexander serves as a Health Scientist to the Office on Women's Health, working on a number of gender-based initiatives.
Robert C. Freeman - (Ex Officio Member)
Robert Freeman, Ph.D., is a Program Official in the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) within the National Institutes of Health. At NIAAA, he oversees the research portfolio in the epidemiology and prevention of alcohol-related violence. He is a member of a number of federal panels devoted to violence prevention, including the Federal Interagency Working Group on Teen Dating Violence, the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, and the NIHM Suicide Research Consortium. He has been Guest Editor of several volumes of research devoted to violence prevention issues. He also is the lead author of the Handbook for Conducting Drug Abuse Research with Hispanic Populations (Praeger Publishers, 2002), has authored or co-authored approximately 20 scientific papers in the fields of HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and sexual violence, and has been a reviewer for the Journal of Urban Health, AIDS Care, Violence Against Women, Journal of Adolescent Health, International Journal of STD & AIDS, and the U.S. National HIV Prevention Conference. Dr. Freeman received his Ph.D. in urban sociology from Fordham University in 1994.
Allison Greene-Sands - (Ex Officio Member)
Allison Greene-Sands, Ph.D., M.A., is currently the Acting Deputy Director for the Department of Defense’s Office of Force Resiliency. She concurrently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at the Department of Defense (DoD) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), where she leads the Director’s Action Group and oversees strategic communications and public affairs. She previously served as SAPRO’s Chief of Staff. Prior to SAPRO, she was the Associate Director of Culture for the Defense Language and National Security Education Office where she directed research and oversaw policy development on cross-cultural competence, regional expertise, and foreign language. In September 2016, Dr. Greene-Sands received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service for her work at SAPRO. She also served for three years (2014-2016) as the Department’s representative on the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Dr. Greene-Sands is the co-editor (with Dr. Robert Greene-Sands) of Cross-Cultural Competence for a Twenty-First-Century Military (2014). She has also presented on the intercultural barriers to addressing sexual violence in multinational environments involving foreign allies and partner nations. In addition, she is an Adjunct Faculty member for Norwich University’s Online Degree Program in Security Studies and Defense Analyses. She established and is currently the Co-Chair of the Interagency Culture Committee that meets monthly at the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR). Dr. Greene-Sands earned both her Master’s and Ph.D. in International Studies from Old Dominion University (ODU), while concurrently serving as an assistant coach for ODU’s perennial Top 10 women’s basketball team. She earned her B.A. in Philosophy at Dartmouth College and spent a semester studying abroad in France. After Dartmouth and before her tenure at ODU, she played basketball professionally in Portugal. She has studied French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and American Sign Language.
Stephen W. Hargarten - (Ex Officio Member)
Stephen W. Hargarten, M.D., M.P.H., is Professor of Emergency Medicine, Director of the Comprehensive Injury Center, and Associate Dean for the Office of Global Health at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He received his M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Hargarten’s research interests reflect an intersection of injury and violence prevention, care, and health policy to address the burden of this biopsychosocial disease burden. His pilot work in linking data systems for understanding violent deaths informed the development of CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System. Dr. Hargarten serves on the national boards of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Association for Safe International Road Travel. He was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011. In 2014, Dr. Hargarten began serving as President of the Milwaukee Global Health Consortium, (formerly the Center for International Health), a consortium of nine member academic, health care, and governmental organizations and agencies, dedicated to addressing local and global health issues including patient care, education/training, research, and community engagement. He was the founding President of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) and has served on the Violence and Injury Prevention Mentoring Committee for the World Health Organization.
Heidi Kar - (Ex Officio Member)
Heidi Kar, Ph.D., M.H.S., is the Lead of the Violence and Trauma team within the Health Practice, Promotion, and Innovation Portfolio (HPPIP) at the Education Development Center, bringing subject matter expertise in interpersonal violence perpetration, trauma assessment and treatment, substance use assessment and treatment, and suicide prevention and intervention. A member of the World Health Organization’s Violence Prevention Alliance, Dr. Kar is a licensed clinical psychologist and cross-cultural public health professional. Currently, Dr. Kar serves as the Principal Investigator across several grants and contracts including a contract with the Indian Health Service to provide training and technical assistance about the Zero Suicide Model of suicide prevention for health systems across American Indian/Alaskan Native sites in the United States and a Department of Justice funded, Office of Victims of Crime grant in which her team is developing a Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training specifically geared toward crime victim advocates across domestic violence, child welfare, law enforcement, and American Indian/Alaskan Native tribal court systems. She also serves a subject matter expert to several internationally-based USAID projects in the Philippines, Honduras, and the DRC. Dr. Kar completed postdoctoral training in Co-Occurring Trauma & Substance Use Disorders and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a focus on Intimate Partner Violence and Trauma-related disorders. Prior to her clinical training, she obtained a Masters of Health Science, with a focus on international/cross-cultural health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Dr. Kar has developed broad cultural competence based on her work with different community groups including Veterans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, and minority youth across the United States, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Honduras, India, and the Philippines.
Daniela Ligiero - (Ex Officio Member)
Daniela Ligiero, Ph.D., is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Together for Girls, a global, public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, especially sexual violence against girls. The partnership includes five UN agencies, the governments of the United States and Canada, several private sector organizations and more than 20 country governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, working together to generate comprehensive data and solutions to this public health and human rights epidemic. Before she joined Together for Girls, she served as the Vice President of Girls and Women’s Strategy at the UN Foundation and developed the foundation’s gender integration strategy. In addition, she spent over five years at the U.S. Department of State where she led the integration of gender issues into all foreign policy and investments in global health—working with over 70 countries and over 1 billion dollars in investments on issues like preventing gender-based violence and improving the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women. She helped develop the first ever International U.S. Government Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence. Dr. Ligiero also served in leadership roles at UNICEF, as Chief of HIV and then as Senior Program Officer in the UNICEF Brazil Country Office. In addition, she has held positions at the World Bank and the US Senate, and has worked directly with survivors of sexual assault in a variety of settings. She is also a survivor of sexual violence herself, and has been speaking publicly about her story for the last decade. She earned her doctoral degree counseling psychology from University of Maryland, College Park, ranked the #1 program in the US. Dr. Ligiero is fluent in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.
Valerie Maholmes - (Ex Officio Member)
Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS, is the Chief of the newly formed Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health. In this capacity she sets the vision and priorities for research that addresses the continuum of psychosocial, behavioral, biological, and physiological influences that affect child health outcomes in trauma, injury, and critical care. Previously, she managed the Child and Family Processes/Child Maltreatment and Violence Research Program at NICHD. In these capacities she provided scientific leadership on research relevant to normative development in children from the newborn period through adolescence, and on the impact of specific aspects of physical and social environments on the health and psychological development of infants, children, and adolescents. Dr. Maholmes co-chairs the NIH Child Abuse and Neglect Working group and is a member of several Federal Interagency working groups that address such issues as violence against women, orphans and vulnerable children in low to middle income countries and emergency medical services to children. She is the lead program official on the NICHD Capstone Center Grant program for research on child maltreatment as well as the Institute’s Research Resource Consortium project call for studies on trauma, injury prevention and epidemiology. Dr. Maholmes was the lead program official on the Trans-NIH initiative calling for research on children in military families and she also was also the NICHD program official for the recent Trans-NIH initiative calling for research on the health determinants of violence.
Colleen Scanlon - (Ex Officio Member)
Colleen Scanlon, J.D., R.N., is senior vice president and chief advocacy officer for Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), where she leads the development and implementation of a comprehensive advocacy program that has had a significant positive impact not only for CHI, but also for the Catholic health ministry in the United States. Under Ms. Scanlon’s leadership, CHI has been a leading voice at the federal, state and local levels on a wide range of issues related to the health and well-being of the patients and residents it serves. Throughout her two decades with CHI, Ms. Scanlon has embodied the organization's vision of creating healthier communities while serving as an advocate for those in need. Although Ms. Scanlon is responsible for framing and advancing the many issues, causes and concerns that are CHI's advocacy priorities, she has been especially effective in making violence prevention a hallmark of CHI's advocacy efforts. As an executive sponsor of CHI's United Against Violence program, Ms. Scanlon led the implementation of a multifaceted approach to violence prevention in the health care industry that has attracted attention from peer organizations and external audiences alike, including the American Hospital Association (AHA). Ms. Scanlon championed an approach that recognizes violence as a complex public health issue requiring solutions that employ multiple methods. The model involves public policy, socially responsible investing, community-based programs, internal workplace violence prevention, education across the socioecological spectrum, and strong partnerships with local and national organizations to influence social and political norms. One example of this approach is CHI's work with a number of community groups in Nazareth, Ky., to help raise awareness about human trafficking. Within two years, that education effort resulted in the formation of a statewide coalition instrumental in helping pass one of the first truly comprehensive pieces of legislation in the nation addressing human trafficking. CHI's program, centered around a clinical education module developed with the Massachusetts General Hospital Human Trafficking Initiative, helps health care providers identify and respond to victims of human trafficking. This module has been featured and shared by the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the AHA, and multiple health systems, among others. Colleen also was a leading force in CHA's development of a human trafficking initiative, Faithfully United Against Human Trafficking. In 2018, CHI partnered with the AHA and Massachusetts General Human Trafficking Initiative to submit and receive approval for a new ICD-10 code for human trafficking. Ms. Scanlon has been instrumental in the oversight and direction of CHI's Mission and Ministry Fund, which represents an in-house grant program. Since its creation in 1996, the same time CHI was formed, this fund has provided over $84 million for almost 525 different projects nationally and worldwide, including nearly $22 million to support CHI's violence prevention program. As a former clinical nurse specialist in palliative care, Ms. Scanlon has dedicated her career to giving voice to the voiceless and to advancing the wide-ranging advocacy efforts that help define the mission of Catholic health care.
Edwin L. Walker - (Ex Officio Member)
Edwin L. Walker, J.D., is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging of the Administration on Aging (AoA) at the Administration for Community Living. He serves as the chief career official for the federal agency responsible for advocating on behalf of older Americans. In this capacity, Mr. Walker guides and promotes the development of home and community-based long-term care programs, policies, and services designed to afford older people and their caregivers the ability to age with dignity and independence and to have a broad array of options available for an enhanced quality of life. This includes the promotion and implementation of evidence-based prevention interventions proven effective in avoiding or delaying the onset of chronic disease and illness. Prior to joining the Administration on Aging, Mr. Walker served as the Director of the Missouri Division of Aging, responsible for administering a comprehensive set of human service programs for older persons and adults with disabilities. He received a Juris Doctor degree in law from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University.



National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418
Event Type :  

Description :   

The Global Violence Prevention Forum aims to facilitate dialogue and exchange by bringing together experts from diverse areas of violence prevention, including: behavioral scientists, policy makers, criminal justice professionals, social service providers, economists, legal experts, journalists, philanthropists, faith-based organizations, and corporate social responsibility officers. In keeping with the overall goal of the Forum to reduce the burden of violence and promote the healthy development of individuals and communities, the Forum opens up potential for prevention in all parts of the world. 

A syndemic is the aggregation of two or more concurrent or sequential epidemics or disease clusters in a population, which exacerbates the prognosis and burden of disease. This two-day public workshop will explore opportunities to improve our understanding of violence and its prevention by examining the contribution of both interpersonal and self-directed violence to syndemics and co-occurring epidemics in the U.S. and globally. Workshop presentations and discussion topics will focus on three syndemics/co-occurring epidemics:

  • opioid use disorder, violence, suicide, and mental health in the United States
  • adverse childhood experiences (ACES) and childhood trauma; adult violence and victimization; and health outcomes from a global perspective
  • HIV and violence.

The workshop will aim to explore the interconnections between these global public health issues. It will highlight the critical gaps in our evidence base surrounding these syndemics/co-occurring epidemics. It will also explore possible prevention and intervention strategies that address these interrelated epidemics beyond siloed interventions that do not take into account the nature of multi-dimensional disorders with overlapping etiologies.

This workshop will be free and open to the public. 

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Claire Moerder
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3264

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