Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

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Loyola Nurse to Partner with Cook County Department of Public Health to Reduce Youth Violence

A Loyola University Health System acute care nurse practitioner is partnering with The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) to reduce youth violence in suburban Cook County.

Daria C. Ruffolo, DNP ’12, MSN ’97, RN, CCRN, ACNP-BC, will provide the CCDPH's violence prevention team with tools for key community leaders, social service workers and nurses in this area to select evidence-based youth violence-prevention programs. This training will take place from 9:30–11:30 a.m. on Friday, August 9, at CCDPH located at 15900 S. Cicero Ave. - Building E in Oak Forest. The program will address social skills, cognitive and behavioral interventions, parental training, family therapy, and strategies to improve school environments.

"Youth violence has long been a critical issue for communities within the western and southern areas of suburban Cook County," said Ruffolo, who began teaching this course as she earned her doctorate from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. "Prevention and community mobilization are critical and complimentary tools that can strengthen a community's capacity to effectively address youth violence."

Ruffolo recently published research in the Journal of Trauma Nurses, which found that previous educational sessions with key stakeholders in suburban Cook County provided the skills necessary to identify programs that can best meet the needs of their communities. These officials also gained an appreciation for the efficacy of evidence-based prevention programs.

Youth violence is among the most serious health threats in the nation today. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24 years in suburban Cook County. Although the national rates of violent injury and homicide have shown a decline in most regions of the United States over the past 15 years, the rates of violence and related injuries among youth remain high.

"The prevention of youth violence has been a priority for the Cook County Department of Public Health," said Terry Mason, MD, FACS, chief operating officer, CCDPH. "This partnership with Loyola will allow us to better protect communities that suffer from disproportionate rates of violent acts."