violence to design and test innovative and responsive models for the education of health professionals or to evaluate existing models. Although their mandates differ in focus and scope, in the committee’s judgment these agencies, as well as stakeholders in family violence, would benefit from sharing and coordinating information about their projects and funding opportunities.
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.
The committee suggests that a modest number of centers, three to five, be established in the next five years. That time period should be sufficient to establish and evaluate the early effects of the centers. The initial focus of the centers should be the evaluation of existing curricula on family violence and the expansion of scientific research on magnitude, health effects, and intervention effectiveness. Once the centers are established and the evidence base is developed, additional funding should be phased in to develop, test, evaluate, and disseminate education and training programs; to provide training at all levels of education; to develop policy advice; and to disseminate information and training programs.
In recommending the creation of education and research centers, the committee not only reiterates the recommendations of previous reports on family violence but also builds on the reported effectiveness of research and education centers in other fields. For example, centers dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease, injury control research, and geriatric education have reported success in bringing multidisciplinary scholars together, expanding the research in their fields, producing scholars, providing training, and encouraging collaboration. In the committee’s judgment, the reported successes of centers in other fields support this call for centers on family violence.
The committee therefore urges the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to instruct its agencies to determine how to allocate resources on a continuing basis to establish multidisciplinary centers on family violence. These centers could be connected to academic health centers, as recommended previously by others, or they could build on related efforts, such as