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Exhibition: Medicine Confronts Violence

In 1985, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop energized nurses and other medical professionals when he convened an unprecedented three-day workshop on “Violence and Public Health.” As the country’s leading advocate for public health, the surgeon general called on medicine, nursing, and the health-related social services to “come forward and recognize violence as their issue.”
  • Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, 1980s

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    C. Everett Koop was the first surgeon general to recognize violence as a public health crisis.

    Surgeon General’s Workshop on Violence and Public Health: Source Book, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1985

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    The surgeon general’s workshop energized nurses and their allies who were working on violence against women. Among the nurse reformers in attendance at the workshop were Barbara Parker, Judy McFarlane, Ann Burgess, Christine King, and Jacquelyn Campbell. Nurses who attended the workshop went on to create the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women.

  • “Nursing Network on Violence Against Women,” Response, 1985

    First organized by nurse reformer Christine King, the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women sought to prevent violence against women and diminish its effects on survivors. The coalition began holding biannual conferences in 1985 and membership continued to increase annually.

    “The Second National Nursing Conference on Violence Against Women,” Response, Jacquelyn Campbell, 1987

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

  • Nursing Network on Violence Against Women conference bag

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Attendance and participation steadily increased at the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women conferences. When international members joined, the organization changed its name to the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International.

In 1985, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop energized nurses and other medical professionals when he convened an unprecedented three-day workshop on “Violence and Public Health.” As the country’s leading advocate for public health, the surgeon general called on medicine, nursing, and the health-related social services to “come forward and recognize violence as their issue.”