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Conference will focus on young people who harm themselves

By Charlene Price-Patterson
Correspondent

A conference focusing on youth self-inflicted injury will be 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 15 at the UNC Charlotte Center City building, 320 E. Ninth St.

This is the eighth annual Youth Violence Prevention Conference sponsored by the Violence Prevention Committee at Carolinas Medical Center.

Dr. David Jacobs is the force behind the event.

Jacobs is the associate medical director of the F.H. Sammy Ross Trauma Institute at Carolinas Medical Center. As a father of three sons, he tackles this mission on a personal and professional level.

“We like to think of youth violence as a disease,” Jacobs says. “The more you know about the causes, the more you can do to prevent it.”

In addition to being one of Charlotte’s top trauma surgeons, Jacobs does a lot of community education.

“We actually know a fair amount about the causes and consequences of youth violence, so the conference is designed to highlight those things we do know, and to enlist communities’ support in making the changes that are necessary to eradicate the disease,” he said.

Jacobs cited statistics from the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta stating that self-inflicted violence accounts for one-quarter of all youth-violence-related injuries, and half of all youth-violence-related deaths.

About 10 different discussions will be led by local experts at the conference, which will focus on the magnitude and impact of the problem of self injury, the causes of and behaviors associated with self-harm, and some approaches to reduce the likelihood of self-inflicted violence in today’s youth.

Conference topics include: defining the magnitude of the problem; what professionals and parents need to know; another reason to stop bullying; how the media can help and hurt; the role of substance abuse and prevention; and beyond cutting, eating disorders and other less common forms of youth self injury.

The event is designed for professionals, nonprofessionals and parents. The registration fee is $80 until March 15; after that date, it’s $100.

The conference is being sponsored by Carolinas Medical Center and a few private institutions.

For details, contact educational specialist Jorge Rudko at Carolinas HealthCare: 704-512-6576, or Jorge.rudko@carolinashealthcare.org. You also can visit www.charlotteahec.org for more information.

Jacobs says the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community can benefit by learning about successful youth-violence-prevention strategies employed across the country. The goal is to design successful local youth-violence prevention strategies.

“I believe strongly in the biblical passage that says, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ I believe it is my responsibility to do anything that I can do to make sure that others get opportunities like I had,” Jacobs said.

Charlene Price-Patterson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Charlene? Email her at CPPCityNews@gmail.com.
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