A multifaceted attack on the "epidemic" of violence that's consuming healthcare resources in New York state is being planned by a new coalition of New York City-area health associations and professional organizations.
The 19-member Health Coalition Against Violence intends to develop and implement strategies aimed at violence prevention and control, fund research and educational programs, and promote communication among health professionals. For example, the coalition will catalog violence prevention programs, seek to expand some programs, and help front-line healthcare professionals identify the effects of violence and intervene to prevent further injury.
The coalition, convened by the New York Academy of Medicine, includes the Greater New York Hospital Association, the Medical Society of the State of New York and the city and state health departments.
The announcement of the coalition's formation coincided with last week's national campaign against youth violence sponsored by a number of national organizations, including the American Medical Association.
"Violence is a public health epidemic in New York City," said Jeremiah Barondess, M.D., president of the New York Academy of Medicine, a New York-based policy and research organization. He said that more than $200 million is being spent annually on hospital and emergency-room care for victims of violence.
This is the first formal, coordinated violence-prevention effort among health professionals in the New York metropolitan region.
"It's taken a while because there are many epidemics we fight at the same time," said Mark Chassin, M.D., New York State's health commissioner.
Dr. Barondess said the coalition will seek private funding for research, although estimates of funding needs weren't available.
Dr. Barondess also released a commentary signed by 19 of the city's most prominent healthcare professionals endorsing tougher gun-control laws. It appeared in the April 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and is supported by the newly formed violence-prevention coalition.