Public Health Program

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Valeriote Goldman 2016

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith

The College of Arts and Sciences Public Health Program has successfully completed the second annual Valeriote Goldman Symposium on Public Health and Social Justice. Made possible by a generous gift from alumna Sue Valeriote ‘77 and her husband, Ken Goldman, this year’s Symposium focused on violence as a public health issue at the local, national, and global level.

On February 9, we welcomed Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, recently appointed dean of the Charles R. Drew University College of Medicine to campus. Dr. Prothrow-Stith was a pioneer in her efforts to define youth violence as a public health issue while working as a physician in inner-city Boston. Appointed in 1987 as the first woman commissioner of public health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, she established the first Office of Violence Prevention in a state department of Public Health.

During Dr. Prothrow-Stith’s day on campus, she spoke to the Public Health Program’s Capstone class before meeting with local public health leaders, including members of the County Department of Public Health, San Jose Mayor’s Office, and community organizations during a community roundtable. The day ended with Dr. Prothrow-Stith presenting her keynote address, “Realms of Violence: a Call to Action for Public Health,” where she challenged students, faculty, staff, and community members to think about the many factors that influence the prevalence of violence in today’s society and culture.

El Salvador Panel

El Salvador Panel

The symposium continued the following week when we welcomed three guests from El Salvador. Fr. Mauricio Gaborit, SJ is the chair for the Psychology Department at the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA), where he studies children, migration, and violence. Rick Jones is the Catholic Relief Services’ senior technical advisor for policy and strategy in Latin America and the Caribbean. He focuses on issues such as extractives, migration, and youth violence and has developed innovative approaches to combat gang violence in Central America through youth employment and violence intervention. Haydee Diaz ‘96 currently works for Catholic Relief Services in El Salvador.

During their two days on campus Fr. Gaborit, Jones, and Diaz were able to meet with a wide range of the campus community, including members of the College of Arts and Sciences, Law School, Ignatian Center, and Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Their visit ended Friday afternoon with a powerful panel discussion, co-sponsored by the Ignatian Center, on the issue of violence in El Salvador. All three panelists provided specific context to this endemic issue through firsthand knowledge of the history, culture, and current issues surrounding this complex problem.

Brittany Cheung ‘17 spoke to the impact the panel discussion had on her: “Attending the Valeriote Goldman Symposium brought me right back to my experiential learning experience at the Casa Public Health Program in El Salvador. It set my heart on fire for the people of El Salvador, and a cause so much bigger than myself. The panel session helped me to hone in my passion for social justice and equality in public health, and opened my eyes to a real-life global health case study concerning a people and country whom I love.”

Dr. Brigid McCaw

Dr. Brigid McCaw

The 2016 Valeriote Goldman Symposium concluded with a talk by Dr. Brigid McCaw, the medical director of the Family Violence Prevention Program for Kaiser Permanente, Northern California Region. Dr. McCaw oversees the implementation of a comprehensive, coordinated approach for improving screening, identification, and services for intimate partner violence (IPV) and leads the national efforts of Kaiser Permanente to improve IPV services for over 10 million members. Spending the afternoon at SCU, Dr. McCaw was a guest in Capstone before engaging in a series of conversations with faculty and members of local domestic violence programs.

Later that evening, Dr. McCaw presented her talk, “Ending Family Violence: the Role of Health Care,” where she began by encouraging those in attendance to recognize that violence is not inevitable; it is preventable. She discussed the integral role healthcare can play in ending family violence and the work of Kaiser Permanente has implemented in prevention and intervention for their employees and their patients. Following her presentation, Melissa Luke, the domestic violence program manager for Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) and Colsaria Henderson, director of programs at Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence joined Dr. McCaw to answer questions from the audience. Christopher Grove, ‘17 said, “Dr. McCaw's talk was very empowering and an eye-opening experience for me. I know that oftentimes males are the perpetrators of domestic violence, and as a male I know that I have the power to say no more. I am excited to share with others what I have learned about the No More campaign and help make a change in any way that I can.”

The Valeriote Goldman Symposium includes funding to support up to five summer internships for non-profit organizations addressing the issues raised in the Symposium. The Public Health Program will be announcing placements next month.

Valeriote Goldman Symposium: Public Health & Social Justice