The Academy on Violence and Abuse (AVA) is a nonprofit multidisciplinary health organization with membership open to physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and many other health professionals who are involved in patient care, health education, health research, and ancillary services. AVA incorporated in 2005 in an effort to improve the health care response to patients whose health has been adversely affected by lifetime exposure to violence and abuse. Nineteen of the country’s leading physicians and health care professionals on the issue of violence and abuse comprised its founding Board of Directors.
AVA’s mission is to advance health education and research on the recognition, treatment, and prevention of violence and abuse.
AVA grew out of the American Medical Association’s National Advisory Council on Violence and Abuse, which was first established to develop guidelines to help physicians treat patients who had suffered domestic violence. As the council explored the issue of violence and abuse it recognized that the issue, as it related to health care, was far more complex and extended well beyond domestic violence. Thus AVA was created as an independent nonprofit membership organization whose major purpose is to develop the discipline of violence and abuse as a specialized area of health care.
A 2002 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report titled “Confronting Chronic Neglect: The Education and Training of Health Professionals on Family Violence” recommended the creation of an organization like AVA to improve the infrastructure necessary to support the training of health care professionals on the health consequences of violence and abuse. The IOM report also identified deficiencies—related to violence and abuse as a health care issue—in the health care education process and practice setting thereby resulting in the failure to develop adequate training programs, measure the effectiveness of current training, provide an environment that supports addressing family violence issues, and support professionals who have a professional interest in violence and abuse as a health care issue.
AVA plans to address the issues raised by the IOM report and several others. The academy plans to develop a unique field of expertise in medicine and other health care disciplines that encompasses all categories of violence and abuse and will work to enhance the understanding of its long-term health repercussions. AVA will also advocate for research to improve our understanding of the experience of abuse and its physical, biochemical, and bio psychosocial consequences. The academy envisions that by integrating health education and research on the issue of violence and abuse into the training of all health professionals, it will promote the health of all people, protect the most vulnerable, and advance health and social policy that promotes safe families, safe workplaces, and safe communities.
- The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. Retrieved from http://www.acestudy.org/index.html
- Cohn, F., Salmon, M. E., & Stoben, J. D. (Eds.). (2002). Confronting chronic neglect: The education and training of health professionals on family violence. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
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