Massachusetts Medical Society Physicians Target Youth Violence

Physicians' group offers free brochures on violence prevention and intervention

Richard P. Gulla
Tel: 781-434-7101
Email: rgulla@mms.org

Waltham - Dec. 7 - Physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society have produced a series of 10 brochures to help parents identify and deal with a range of topics on youth violence, including bullying, dating and street violence, violence in the media, and child sexual abuse. They are available free to parents, educators, youth counselors, or others who work with children and youth. 

Originated by Robert D. Sege, M.D., Ph.D. and developed by the Medical Society's Committee on Violence Intervention and Prevention, the current publications are updated versions of a previous series and contain information from a variety of sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and Massachusetts Citizens for Children. They are written by experts in the field of youth violence. 

Elliot Pittel, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Society's Committee on Violence Intervention and Prevention and a psychiatrist at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston, called attention to the severity of the problem.

"Violence or abuse affecting children occurs in far too many places - in the home, at school, on the street, online, in relationships - and has enormous effects on physical and mental health," said Dr. Pittel, "and we see the results all too often in headlines and news reports. Physicians can play a major role in addressing the needs of hurt and injured children by screening for violence as an essential part of every visit to the doctor."

"The aim of these publications," said Dr. Sege, who is Director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center and Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, "is to reach beyond the physician's office, to educate parents and those who care for children with expert, practical information, first to prevent violence, and then, when and if it does occur, to intervene appropriately. Parents and their children's health care providers must be allies in trying to keep children safe."

The series includes ten titles:

  • Protecting Your Child From Sexual Abuse
  • When Children Witness Violence in the Home
  • Bullying Prevention: When Your Child  is the Victim, the Bully, or the Bystander
  • Street Violence: Your Child Has Been Hurt, What You Can Do
  • Dating Violence: What Parents Need To Know
  • Protecting Your Child From Gun Injury
  • Pulling the Plug on Media Violence
  • Some Myths and Facts About Violence
  • Time-Out! A Break From Negative Behavior
  • Raise Your Child With Praise: Tips for Parents of 2-5 year-olds

The brochures may be downloaded free at www.massmed.org/violence.  Printed copies may be ordered individually or in sets from the Medical Society by writing to dph@mms.org or calling 1-800-322-2303, Ext. 7373.

The publications are part of the Society's Campaign Against Violence, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance. Other materials in the effort are two guides for health care professionals, both also free via download from the society's website. 

Recognizing and Preventing Youth Violence, edited by Dr. Sege and Vincent G. Licenziato, provides basic information about youth violence for physicians and health care providers, describing risk factors and appropriate screening tools, as well as suggesting approaches to violence prevention and intervention. A PowerPoint presentation and lecture, based on the guidebook, is also available on the Society's website.

Intimate Partner Violence, written by Elaine J. Alpert, M.D., M.P.H., describes the role of the physician in screening and caring for patients at risk for domestic violence, spousal abuse, or battering. Physicians are often the first and sometimes the only professionals who see survivors of violence and are therefore able to play a crucial role in breaking the cycle of violence and working toward prevention.

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 24,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world's leading medical journals; the Journal Watch family of professional newsletters covering 11 specialties; and AIDS Clinical Care. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information, visit www.massmed.org.

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