Nov. 2, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 44



Center for Violence Prevention thanks supporters

Photo of Williams, Thornton, Brackley, Allan, and Cigarroa (L-R) Drs. Gail Williams and Joe Thornton, new co-directors of the Center for Violence Prevention, are congratulated by Drs. Margaret Brackley, director of the center, Janet Allan, dean of the School of Nursing, and Francisco G. Cigarroa, president of the Health Science Center, during the open house for the center held Oct. 12.

The Sept. 11 attacks on America clearly demonstrated how a single act of violence can tragically affect thousands of lives. Unfortunately, violence is a daily occurrence in some people's lives. Between 1 and 2 million elders, 3 million children and more than 4 million women experience abuse, neglect and exploitation each year. Abuse accounts for more than half of all female homicides. Faculty in the School of Nursing are working to end violence in the community through the school's Center for Violence Prevention.

The center was established in January 2000 to support violence-related research, education and practice. It serves as a clearinghouse for information and resources related to violence and violence prevention. The center provides a forum for collaboration among faculty and students with multidisciplinary expertise and interest in violence-related topics. It also fosters partnerships with community organizations throughout South Texas that have similar goals and missions.

In conjunction with National Domestic Violence Prevention Month in October, the School of Nursing held an Open House to celebrate the research that has been produced through the center and to recognize center supporters.

Dr. Janet Allan, dean of the School of Nursing, announced the appointment of Drs. Gail Williams, associate professor in the department of family nursing care, and Joe Thornton, assistant professor of psychiatry and medical director of in-patient psychiatry at the University Health System, as co-directors of the center. They will join Dr. Margaret Brackley, professor in the department of chronic nursing care, who has been director of the center since its establishment last year. Dr. Yolanda Davila, assistant professor in the department of chronic nursing care, who co-founded the center with Dr. Brackley, stepped down this year to pursue research opportunities. Dr. Davila is a graduate of the UTHSC and has been a member of the university's faculty since 1999.

"Domestic and intimate partner violence is a major health problem in San Antonio, the state, the nation and the world," Dr. Allan said. "It is the center's mission to develop greater community awareness of violence, to provide clinician training in assessment and interventions, and to promote increased interdisciplinary research and policy development on violence prevention. We are exceedingly proud to have the center directed by the capable leadership of Drs. Brackley, Thornton and Williams."

Dr. Williams has been a faculty member at the Health Science Center since 1991. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience.

"I am excited about my role in the center," Dr. Williams said. "I plan to work with Drs. Brackley and Thornton to focus on providing students and faculty with the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge, violence-related research. We hope to expand research opportunities for faculty, undergraduate research scholars and doctoral students."

Dr. Joe Thornton has been with the Health Science Center since 1996. He serves as medical director of in-patient psychiatry at the University Health System. He also is co-executive director/co-principal investigator of the San Antonio Safe Family Coalition, a coordinated community response funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to prevent intimate partner violence.

Dr. Thornton said research at the center allows faculty to test different models of violence in an effort to create new prevention efforts.

"We can analyze the types of violence that occurs in families, the workplace, correctional settings, and among nations, or are perpetuated by terrorists. Knowledge gained in one area of violence prevention may have immediate applicability in other areas," he said.

Madla honored:
During the Open House ceremony, faculty of the School of Nursing presented State Sen. Frank Madla with the first Marci Long Safe Family Award. He was honored for his role in sponsoring legislation, passed this year, to create an Intentional Fatality Review Board within the State of Texas to enhance the safety of citizens in the community.

The Marci Long Safe Family Award was named for the late Dr. Marci Long, assistant professor of psychiatry, who was killed by her estranged husband in 1999. The award will honor individuals or groups that demonstrate leadership in the prevention of all forms of intentional violence.