Larry Cohen, UNITY Co-Chair
Executive Director, Prevention Institute
Larry Cohen, founder and Executive Director of Prevention Institute, a non-profit national center dedicated to improving community health and equity through effective primary prevention: taking action to build resilience and to prevent illness and injury before they occur. With an emphasis on health equity, Larry has led many successful public health efforts at the local, state, and federal level on injury and violence prevention, mental health, traffic safety, and food and physical activity-related chronic disease prevention. Larry helped to define violence as a preventable public health concern, and developed one of the nation's first courses on violence prevention. Prior to founding Prevention Institute in 1997, Larry formed the first U.S. coalition to change tobacco policy and created the nation's first multi-city smoking ban. He established the Food and Nutrition Policy Consortium, which catalyzed the nation's food labeling law. Larry also helped shape vehicle safety policy, including strategy to secure passage of bicycle and motorcycle helmet laws, and strengthen child and adult passenger restraint laws. Larry has received numerous awards, including the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section Public Service Award from the American Public Health Association. He received his MSW from SUNY Stony Brook. Read More
Deborah Prothrow-Stith, UNITY Co-Chair
Adjunct Professor, Harvard University School of Public Health
Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith is a nationally recognized public health leader. She brings more than 26 years of experience as a nationally acclaimed public health leader, physician and educator. She is an innovator in the field of public health with her efforts to have youth violence defined as a public health issue. As a chief spokesperson for a national movement to prevent violence and a frequent speaker in national media and public forums, she developed and wrote The Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents, a fore-runner of violence prevention curriculum for schools and communities. She is the author of Deadly Consequences, the first book to present the public health perspective on violence to a mass audience and also is co-author of the book Murder is No Accident, a blueprint for community based Violence Prevention. Read more
Billie Weiss, UNITY Co-Chair
Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Billie Weiss, MPH, is an Associate Director of the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center at the UCLA School of Public Health and the former director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services Injury and Violence Prevention Program and acting Director and founder of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles. She has authored numerous papers, three book chapters, and frequently makes presentations to scientific, professional and community conferences and meetings. Ms. Weiss recently co-authored the Advancement Project Report on Reducing Gang and Youth Violence in Los Angeles. She received a BS from Cal. State Fullerton, and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from UCLA.
Ms. Weiss' primary emphasis is "Violence as a Public Health Issue", including the epidemiology of gang homicides and assaults, intimate partner violence, pedestrian injuries among pre-school children, iron poisoning, drowning, evaluation of programs to reduce teen relationship and gang violence, and parenting for violence prevention. In addition, Ms. Weiss has focused on the policies related to reducing and preventing violence and the evaluation of such policies. The Berkeley School of Public Health selected Ms. Weiss as Regional Public Health Hero in 2001, and the American Public Health Association, Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section presented her a Public Service Award. She has been honored with the 2008 California Peace Prize by The California Wellness Foundation, and by the Southern California Public Health Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Sarah Brady and the Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Black Probation Officers of Los Angeles, and has twice received the "Keep it Good in the Hood" Award. She has also received the "Dream Redeemer" award from Crenshaw High School, and the Milton Roemer Award from the California Public Health Association. Ms. Weiss was also selected by KCET as one of two Local Heroes honored during Women's History Month.
Rachel Davis, UNITY Project Director
Managing Director, Prevention Institute
Rachel Davis, Managing Director at Prevention Institute, oversees management of projects related to prevention violence, community health and reducing inequity, health care reform, and mental health. Rachel serves as Project Director for UNITY, and co-developed THRIVE (Toolkit for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments), an interactive web-based tool to help identify and foster factors in the community environment that improve health outcomes and reduce inequity.·She has written numerous publications, including First Steps: Taking Action Early to Prevent Violence. Rachel also co-authored A Time of Opportunity: Local Solutions to Reduce Inequities in Health and Safety, Health for All: California's Strategic Approach to Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health, and Good Health Counts: A 21st Century Approach to Health and Community for California.·Read More
Howard Pinderhughes, Consultant
UCSF Institute for Health and Aging
Howard Pinderhughes, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Pinderhughes is the author of Race in the Hood: Conflict and Violence Among Urban Youth which examined the dynamics of racial violence in New York City and his forthcoming book, Dealing With Danger: How Inner City Youth Cope with the Violence that Surrounds Them that examines the production of youth violence and how urban adolescents think about, experience and make decisions about the use of violence. Additionally, he served as the Co-PI for the Center on Culture, Immigration and Youth Violence Prevention, one of the CDC's Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention.
Annie Lyles, Program Manager
Annie Lyles, Program Manager at Prevention Institute, oversees projects to prevent violence, including community and street violence, violence against women, and sexual assault and exploitation. She manages UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth), and she develops and hosts Prevention Institute's contributions to the webinar series PreventConnect. Read More
Paul Hsu, Assistant Adjunct Professor in Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Dr. Hsu brings a diverse background and experience to inform his research and teaching. For example, he has applied engineering and statistical techniques such as program optimization and modeling to the areas of health risk assessment and preventive and occupational medicine. Recent studies have examined mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions) in non-hospitalized adult populations and the role of firearms in homicide-suicide events. Other projects have included a needs assessment of gang intervention workers, evaluating community-based programs for violence prevention, and investigating the role of culture and other factors in minority health.
Classes taught have included Principles of Epidemiology; Public Health and Aging: Epidemiology, Ethnicity, and Geography; Evidence-Based Practice; and Epidemiology of Assault, Homicide, and Suicide. He has co-authored numerous papers and has presented at both national and international conferences.
Benita Tsao, Program Coodinator
Benita Tsao, Program Coordinator at Prevention Institute, works on initiatives that prevent violence and promote safety and health equity. She also helps develop training tools for organizations and communities to effectively prevent violence before it happens. Read More
Neil Rainford received his Master's of Health Science Education from the University of Florida and is currently a Public Health Advisor with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Division of Violence Prevention. As a project officer, he provides oversight and direction for grants and cooperative agreements in violence topical areas of sexual violence, child maltreatment, suicide, and youth violence. He also serves as the chair for the CDC Division for Violence Prevention of Youth Violence Working Group.
Natalie Wilkins, Behavioral Scientist
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Dr. Wilkins is a Behavioral Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Division of Violence Prevention. A community psychologist by training, Dr. Wilkins has spent the last ten years working on child and youth development in both research and applied settings, focusing particularly on the role of culture and processes of resilience in the psycho-social and behavioral health of youth.