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May 16, 1990

Coping With Violence Epidemic

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2612-2614. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190068032

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WITHIN the last decade, injury and death from violence have become one of the most critical health problems this country faces. Many epidemiologists, stepping into what has traditionally been the domain of the criminal justice system, now claim that violence-prevention strategies might be found through public health perspectives and practices.

"It's a direction in which public health has to move or it's going to be avoiding one of the most significant health problems," predicts Linda Saltzman, PhD, behavioral scientist-criminologist for the CDC's intentional injuries section, which originated as the violence epidemiology branch in 1983.

Homicide has climbed the ranks to become the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, a rise attributed to both increased homicide rates and the elimination or treatment of certain infectious and chronic diseases. Among 15- to 24-year-olds, homicide ranks as the third leading cause of death. And among black males aged 15 to