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Determining the Fitness of Chronic Disease Models in Alleviating Youth Violence in Khayelitsha South Africa

Presenters Name: 
Jillian Randolph
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Rupa Valdez
Secondary Research Mentor: 
David Edmunds
9:30 - 10:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 9:30am to 10:15am
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
Harrison Undergraduate Research Grant

Violence has long been compared to acting in similar ways to a contagious disease. In the late 80s professionals began referring to the presence of violence in urban American communities as "epidemic." In 1996, the World Health Organization solidified this use of terminology in calling violence a "leading world wide public health problem." Since then, public health professionals have attempted to use principles from the conception and alleviation of contagious diseases to eradicate violence from marginalized urban communities. While specific initiatives, like the Cure Violence method, have noted recent success in their implementations of contagious disease methodology to curb urban violence, violence, in all its many forms, still persists. This research project will confound the uses, implementations, and implications of solely using the contagious disease model to understand how violence affects individuals in historically marginalized urban communities by suggesting a complimentary use of the chronic disease model. We draw from a series of ethnographic observations and data from focus groups and interviews collected over the past two years from youth between the ages of 16-35, a women's chronic disease support group, and various community leaders, organizers, and stakeholders, all residing in Khayelitsha, a black township outside of Cape Town, South Africa. I highlight four main points of deviation between the contagious and chronic disease model and how the chronic disease model could better illuminate how violence affects both individuals and communities as well as design more efficacious implementations. Further research should formally implement chronic disease management programs too formally gauge efficacy.