The Impact of Violence Prevention

stop violence

Q&A with MPH Faculty Member Colleen Murray, DrPH, MPH

Violence prevention is typically tied to the topic of gun safety laws, but it encompasses many more factors. We had the opportunity to sit down with Chamberlain University Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program faculty member, Colleen Murray, DrPH, MPH, to learn about her research and insights into how important and relevant violence prevention is today for public health and what we can do as a society to protect people and communities at risk. 

Violence prevention is a topic that many people feel passionately about.  What kindled your passion in this topic?

I am passionate about violence prevention because it has such a broad reach within the field of public health. Violence comes in many forms (e.g., child abuse and neglect, sexual violence, elder abuse, intimate partner violence, homicide) and impacts individuals of all ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016, over 19,000 people were victims of homicide and approximately 45,000 were victims of suicide. Violence prevention doesn’t just end with the prevention of violence, it also encompasses advocating for the rights and well-being of victims and for communities.

Can you share some examples of the work you’ve done related to violence prevention?

My most relevant work related to violence prevention and associated outcomes was as a research consultant on a project funded by the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Notably, this project sought to identify promising sexual violence prevention strategies developed in practice that were ready for more evaluation. In particular, I served as a lead site visitor that conducted evaluability assessments with nominated Rape Prevention and Education grant awardees and sub-awardees. My colleagues and I used the Systematic Screening and Assessment method to identify promising programs. I conducted interviews with agency administrators, prevention educators and program stakeholders and then prepared recommendations for further evaluation. We were invited to nominate SV prevention strategies that addressed one or more of the three focus areas outlined below. This project was a great opportunity to explore violence prevention efforts across the United States that were creating safe and protective environments, promoting healthy social norms, and those that used gender equity approaches.

What are some ways in which Chamberlain University supports violence prevention initiatives?

Chamberlain University supports violence prevention in many ways. One way is through a mandatory “Not Anymore” training that all students must complete. This training allows students to continue to be educated on the following topics: sexual violence, interpersonal relationship violence, sex and gender based harassment and bystander interventions. 

How does Chamberlain’s MPH degree program prepare students to impact violence prevention?

The MPH degree program prepares students through quality education and exposure to a myriad of public health topics and skills such as epidemiology, biostatistics, community health program planning and evaluation, social determinants of health, morbidity and mortality, behavioral theory, and beyond. All of these public health topics play a role in learning the various factors that go into violence prevention.

What is your greatest hope for violence prevention?

My greatest hope for violence prevention is that culturally, we as a society will recognize and understand the many overlapping causes of violence and strive to protect the people and communities that are most at-risk. 

Why do you believe violence prevention is highlighted during National Public Health Week?

I think the topic of violence prevention is being highlighted during National Public Health Week because the focus of public health is on the health, safety and well-being of populations. Public health practitioners strive to promote health and prolong life. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of public health as a discipline and the far reaching effects of violence, this topic could not be more of a perfect fit.

Interested in learning how you can contribute to violence prevention and improving the health of communities? Explore the exciting opportunities available through Chamberlain University’s Master of Public Health degree program. Request more information here.