search on family violence to design and test innovative and responsive models for health professional education or to evaluate existing models.
Recommendation 1: The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should be responsible for establishing new multidisciplinary education and research centers with the goal of advancing scholarship and practice in family violence. These centers should be charged with conducting research on the magnitude and impact of family violence on society and the health care system, conducting research on training, and addressing concerns regarding the lack of comparability in current research. The ultimate goal of these centers will be to develop training programs based on sound scientific evidence that prepare health professionals to respond to family violence.
In recommending the creation of education and research centers, the committee reiterates and builds on recommendations from previous reports on family violence (U.S. ABCAN, 1990, 1991; NRC, 1993; NRC and IOM, 1998). In addition, there are some indications that the use of centers is effective in building a field. For example, Tony Phelps, director of the Alzheimer’s disease centers program of the National Institute on Aging, reports:
While there has been no comprehensive formal evaluation of the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program, there is substantive agreement that the ADCs have played and will continue to play a major role in Alzheimer’s disease research by providing an infrastructure and core resources around which institutions can build innovative research programs. Centers not only conduct research projects and provide resources locally, but also join together with other ADCs to perform collaborative studies on important research topics and serve as regional or national resources for special purpose research.
Among the accomplishments of the centers Phelps describes are multidisciplinary undertakings in research that have significantly advanced understanding of Alzheimer’s disease; the development of new lines of research; the dissemination of research findings to the professional and lay communities; and support for professional education through training programs, conferences, presentations, collaboration with state and local agencies and other Alzheimer’s professional groups, and technology-based information dissemination. Of note, he writes, “By pooling resources and working cooperatively, the Centers have produced research findings that could not have been accomplished by individual investigators working alone” (Phelps, personal communication to the committee, July 7, 2001).
Similarly, David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center, reports that centers offer the advantages of coordination