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Violence as an Epidemic

Gary Slutkin's Gun Violence Speech Treats Shootings as a Disease

— October 15, 2013 — Keynote Trends
In his gun violence speech, physician Gary Slutkin describes how we can combat violence by treating like an infectious disease epidemic. The doctor spent over ten years in Africa dealing with infectious diseases like tuberculosis, cholera and AIDS.

The gun violence speech discusses a new strategy that was required to deal with the epidemic, one involving new workers, behavior change and public education rather than punishment. By looking at data, Slutkin found flusters and patterns that showed violence acts like infectious diseases.

To reverse an epidemic, one needs to interrupt the transmission by finding the first cases, preventing future spread and shifting group norms. By applying this method in a Chicago neighborhood, shootings reduced by 67%. They have since replicated this method multiple times on an international scale. While this method has been met with significant criticism, it has been proven successful over and over again.
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