Prevention Institute congratulates our friend and colleague Billie Weiss, MPH, founder of Violence Prevention Coalition (VPC) of Greater Los Angeles and retired associate director of the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Program at the UCLA School of Public Health, on receiving American Public Health Association’s (APHA) prestigious 2015 Victor Sidel and Barry Levy Award for Peace. Billie was honored for her lifetime of work helping community-based organizations effectively prevent violence. This year’s APHA awards will be presented on November 3rd during the association's 143rd Annual Meeting and Exposition in Chicago.
Billie will always hold a special place in our heart. Since its inception in 2005, Billie has served as co-chair of our Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY) initiative, building support for effective, sustainable efforts to prevent violence in the nation’s largest cities so urban youth can thrive in safe environments with supportive relationships and opportunities for success. As UNITY’s project director, Billie’s dedicated, skillful, and tireless leadership has helped galvanize the political will of community leaders and stakeholders across the country to invest in at-risk youth and under-served communities.
For over two decades Billie has been one of our world’s indispensable public health leaders. By framing violence as a public health issue, she has focused on the epidemiology of gang homicides and assaults, intimate partner violence, evaluation of programs to reduce teen-relationship and gang violence, parenting for violence prevention, and the building of coalitions and implementation of public policies that have prevented and reduced violence throughout California, and across the nation.
Recognizing that large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector collaboration and coordination, Billie founded VPC in 1991 to address the rising violence epidemic in L.A. County. She built a broad, diverse coalition of educators, artists, ministers, youth, law enforcement, health providers, and others, to identify and share emerging/best practices and support networking in order to maximize and amplify members’ effectiveness and influence. Decades later, VPC has helped make it more difficult to gain easy access to firearms and ammunitions; linked individuals, community organizations, and policymakers; enrolled children in community programs; and, most importantly, dramatically reduced violence and its effects on the health of local communities.
Click here to read more about Billie’s long list of accomplishments, awards and honors!
We want to applaud all of this year’s APHA's Award winners for exemplifying outstanding professionalism, dedication, and contributions to the field of public health.