"Violence and Public Health: Delivered to the American Academy of Pediatrics, New York City, New York" [Reminiscence]
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Koop, C. Everett
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Reproduction and Family Health
Violence and Public Health: Delivered to the American Academy of Pediatrics, New York City, New York (October 26, 1982)
Vol. 3 #2
"Violence and Public Health"
To the American Academy of Pediatrics
New York City, NY
October 26, 1982
I delivered this speech on the same day that I made the announcement to physicians through the academy about the safety of
Tylenol for children.
My introduction to this lecture enabled me to remind the audience that I was one of eight founding members of the surgical
section of the Academy and to express my appreciation once again to the Academy for providing a haven and authority aegis
for the surgical section when it was composed of a few pediatric surgeons struggling for recognition in the development of
the new specialty.
This title on violence is the first given by me as Surgeon General where I began my
crusade to have violence considered a public health problem rather than a subject only for law enforcement and jurisprudence.
I discussed three major categories of violence: motor vehicle fatalities, suicide, and homicide and then attempted to give
a profile of violence to children as well as their backgrounds based on the research of others, but presented to a pediatric
audience through the filter of the Surgeon General's perspective. I also discussed at some length the "Medicalization
of Social Problems" and the reluctance of physicians to become involved in their assessment. I also looked at the relationship
between the fictional violence that is televised and the violence that takes place in the real world.
(Editor's note: see editor's note of proceeding introduction on Violence and Public
Frequently en route to the venue for a speech, I added or deleted material in ink and so delivered the message. This particular
speech shows in italics those things I added en route. Sometimes I thought they were facts I thought belonged in the speech,
other times they were homey inclusions having to do with the group I was speaking to or the place in which we were meeting.
It gives some idea of both the completeness of the speech before I took off as well as the type of thinking I did on route.