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NIJ's Investment in Public Safety and Public Health Partnerships

Date Published
April 2, 2014
Katrina Baum

Sidebar to the article Healthy Communities May Make Safe Communities: Public Health Approaches to Violence Prevention by Sarah Schweig.

NIJ has a long-standing commitment to spur innovative solutions to violence through collaboration. Some of NIJ's early work in public health came through partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For example, in the 1990s, the agencies worked together on the National Violence Against Women Survey[1] to better understand intimate partner violence and measure the rate of injury, the use of medical services and the criminal justice system's involvement. Over the years, this partnership has continued to provide research on the consequences of intimate partner violence, now measured by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.[2] And just recently, NIJ and CDC jointly published Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership, a book that describes key principles in preventing youth from joining gangs.[3]

For the last three years, NIJ has also been a sponsoring organization for the Forum on Global Violence Prevention in the Institute of Medicine at the National Academies. The Forum draws together a diverse set of stakeholders representing philanthropy, science offices within the National Institutes of Health and CDC, and other federal partners to discuss the best science has to offer on violence prevention. To date, the Forum has held six two-day workshops, bringing together hundreds of participants, including some who tuned in via a free webcast. The workshops focused on:

  1. Preventing violence against women and children
  2. Social and economic costs of violence
  3. Communications and technology for violence prevention
  4. Contagion of violence
  5. Evidence for violence prevention across the lifespan and around the world
  6. Elder abuse and its prevention

The Forum is unique in that its reach is multidisciplinary and international. NIJ does not have the statutory authority to conduct research outside the United States, yet the findings of its research often have implications for victims around the world. This partnership has allowed NIJ-funded research on understanding, preventing and responding to violence — along with relevant research from the health, social work, education and development fields — to reach a large audience across the globe.

One of the challenges facing both public safety and public health is how to not only get evidence into the hands of practitioners around the world, but also ensure that programs are implemented with fidelity. These implementation challenges were raised in a recent discussion paper released by the Institute of Medicine, "Violence Prevention: Moving From Evidence to Implementation."[4] One of the tools highlighted in the article is CrimeSolutions.ojp.gov. This site, which is managed by NIJ, aims to help practitioners and policymakers understand what works in justice-related programs and practices. Identifying programs is not sufficient; practitioners need resources to ensure that interventions can be evaluated when they move from their places of origin to new settings and populations.

Learn more about NIJ's investment in these and other public health-public safety projects.

About the Author

Katrina Baum is a former senior research officer at NIJ.

About This Article

This artice appeared in NIJ Journal Issue 273, March 2014, as a sidebar to the article Healthy Communities May Make Safe Communities: Public Health Approaches to Violence Prevention by Sarah Schweig.

Date Published: April 2, 2014