Statement from Dean Coben West Virginia University School of Public Health

We will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Safe Communities America program on October 4. There’s no greater time in our country to have our Communities safe for all residents. Dr. Coben shared a statement today with all students, faculty and staff of the WVU School of Public Health. Dr. Coben’s words must give us pause as we move forward from the tragedy in Las Vegas today.- Dr. Daniel Shook, Director-WVU-Greater Morgantown Safe Communities Initiative

Dean’s Message to the School of Public Health community:

Identifying violence as a public health issue is a relatively new idea. Traditionally, when confronted by the circumstances of violence, the health professions have deferred to the criminal justice system. The professions of medicine, nursing, and the health-related social services must come forward and recognize violence as their issue.
C. Everett Koop, MD; Surgeon General of the United States, 1991

Dear students, staff and faculty,

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted, directly or indirectly, by the tragic events that occurred in Las Vegas last night. In the days ahead, we will undoubtedly learn more about the hundreds of individuals and families whose lives have been taken or forever changed by this senseless violence. Since the time of Dr. Koop’s statement in 1991, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in the United States from violence, in its many forms. These events underscore the point that public health and public safety are inextricably linked to one another.

In the wake of this horrible event, let us come together as a school community to offer one another support, kindness, understanding and love. Let us also rededicate ourselves to addressing violence as a public health problem, and bring all our skills and energy to help make this world a healthier and safer place.



Jeffrey Coben, MD
Dean, School of Public Health
Associate Vice President for Health Affairs
WVU Health Sciences Center


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