Gary Slutkin TED talk: Let’s treat violence like a contagious disease

In Dr. Gary Slutkin’s TED talk, he proposes that we treat violence the same way we treat any other contagious disease. Dr. Slutkin founded Cure Violence in 2000, following a decade of overseas work as an epidemiologist whose goal was to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, and AIDS. Hoping to avoid burnout from advocating for disadvantaged communities, Dr. Slutkin returned to the United States, where luxuries like running water AND a thermostat made him feel like he had left epidemic health problems behind in Africa. This changed, however, the more he learned about the horrible instances of gun violence in his own country. He was incredibly disturbed by the idea of children shooting other children and the fact that there did not seem to be any effective methods of dealing with this problem. After realizing that there were not just a few isolated instances of violence, but several per day, he wondered if there were any similarities between his experiences with epidemics overseas to this big problem at home. When he looked at the graphs and maps representing when and where acts of violence were occurring, he realized that the spread of violence was an epidemic, just like tuberculosis, cholera, or AIDS. He devised a plan to treat violence the same way he would treat any other contagious disease; by interrupting transmission, preventing further spread, and shifting the norms. This method has proven to be tremendously successful. Watch the video to learn how!

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