March Physician Focus: Youth Violence and Child Abuse

As spectators, perpetrators, or victims, violence and abuse take a huge toll on our nation’s youth.  The numbers are stark and telling.

Homicide and suicide are the second and third leading causes of death of American children.  More than 707,000 youth ages 10-24 receive  emergency treatment for injuries from physical assaults, and more than three million reports of child abuse are filed each year – an average of nearly six every minute.

While the numbers show the size of the problem, news reports depict the tragedy.  The pictures and reports of such places as Columbine, Newtown, and Virginia Tech, and widespread abuse by clergy and coaches are now vivid and sad chapters in our nation’s history.  And they continue to make headlines.

The March edition of Physician Focus attempts to put some perspective on the topic of youth violence and abuse with Robert Sege, M.D. (center, photo) and Elliot Pittel, M.D. (right)  joining program host Bruce Karlin, M.D. (left) for discussion.

Dr. Sege is Director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, and co-author of the AAP’s policy on guns.  Dr. Pittel is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston and chair of the MMS Committee on Violence Intervention and Prevention.

Among the topics of conversation are the causes of youth violence, the influence of media on children, the importance of ‘being connected’ for both parents and children, and the role physicians can play in helping to prevent and reduce the violence.

Physician Focus is available for viewing on public access television stations throughout Massachusetts and also available online at and on iTunes at


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