His violence prevention work informed his HIV prevention work domestically and in Durban, South Africa. By working at the individual, family, and community levels, this work has had positive effects with multiple family and group interventions in terms of neighborhood social control and organization, increased primary and secondary social networking, and improved communication between youth and their parents. In South Africa, Bell focuses on social skills, teaching parents how to parent children—how to bond, how to attach, how to supervise, and how to monitor children’s behavior. He noted that creating self-esteem, a sense of power, a sense of uniqueness, a sense of model, a sense of being connected—all of these things seemed to decrease the need to engage in risky behaviors. The adult protective shield in terms of monitoring children is very important. He noted that when you have neighbors monitoring other neighbors in terms of domestic violence, people modify their behavior and there are improvements in terms of punitive parenting. Bell’s HIV prevention work was also found to be effective in reducing the stigma of HIV for both children and adults.
From research in the Chicago Public Schools it has been shown that when children, teachers, and parents are connected and attached; the findings indicate less violence, less suicide, delayed sexual debut, and fewer other disruptive behaviors among children, which appears to be consistent with Hawkins’ findings with social bonding. Bell’s research on bonding and attachment dynamics in the same school system, using Aban-Aya’s Afrocentric risk behavior prevention curriculum, focused on teaching refusal skills for social or peer pressures and skills for assertiveness, negotiation, and conflict resolution. The study provides youth the opportunity to practice these skills to aid in their ability to avoid high-risk health behaviors. These social skills are taught in the context of also teaching decision making (Stop, Think and Act) and problem solving skills. Bell’s work also promoted opportunities for children to become attached to their schools by creating an environmental structure during the school year and summer months, with academic and recreational activities and serving meals.
Dr. Bell’s research to address child abuse and neglect domestically reduced significantly the numbers of African American children who were being removed from their homes in McLean County, Illinois. At the start of the study, 35 children per 1,000 were being removed and at the end of their initiative, the number was reduced to 14 per 1,000 children, higher than children of other races and ethnicity. He reiterated that exposure to child abuse and neglect, along with other adverse experiences such as witnessing violence against one’s mother, living with household members who are substance abusers, living with household members who are mentally ill or suicidal, or living with ex-offender household members are major drivers of adult mental and physical health problems. Bell also stated that various studies have shown a range of people who experience trauma, from