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[October 21, 2016]

SUNY Downstate’s Dr. LeConté Dill Receives APHA Women’s Caucus Highest Scoring Abstract Award

Abstract Focuses on Gender-based Inequities in Violence Experienced by Teenage Girls in their Dating Relationships

Brooklyn, NY – LeConté Dill, DrPH, MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s School of Public Health, has received the Women’s Caucus Highest Scoring Abstract award of the American Public Health Association (APHA).

Dr. Dill’s abstract, entitled “‘What if I stay?’: Experiences of teen dating violence among urban African-American, Caribbean-American, and Latina girls,” focuses on the role of gender and gender-based inequities in instances of violence, specifically as they relate to violence experienced by teenage girls in their dating relationships.

As recently noted in the Friday Letter of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), the abstract grew out of Dr. Dill’s partnership with the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI). KAVI is a school-, hospital-, and community-based violence intervention program serving young people in Brooklyn, NY, founded and directed by Robert Gore, MD, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at SUNY Downstate and an attending physician at Kings County Hospital Center, NYC Health+Hospitals.

Dr. Dill has served in many capacities with KAVI’s Women’s Program over the past three years, and during the last year she and SUNY Downstate Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health students have been engaged in a rigorous qualitative study exploring violence in the lives of urban girls of color. Dr. Dill’s research team observed KAVI workshops and conducted interviews with approximately 20 African-American, Caribbean-American, and Latina KAVI participants and alumnae about their experiences of multiple types of violence. This larger study, “Alternate Routes: Examining risk and resilience among girls of color in Brooklyn,” is funded by the SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s President’s Health Disparities Award.

Regarding teen dating violence, KAVI participants expressed self-blame and “feeling stuck” in their relationships and in navigating safety, reports Dr. Dill. After regular interaction with the research team, the use of artwork to explore personal experiences, and referrals to social workers and therapists as part of the KAVI Program, participants began to disclose and cope with complex and multiple traumas and began to engage in safety planning for themselves and their peers. During her presentation at APHA, Dr. Dill will detail how the KAVI participants struggle with and work through these issues.

Dr. Dill recommends that school-based violence prevention programs consider curricula and case management specifically related to teen dating violence in order to be responsive and equitable to the holistic health needs and rights of their participants.

Dr. Gore said, “Dr. Dill has been an exceptional addition to our very important KAVI team. She has been able to blend natural and cultivated creativity as an artist and KAVI facilitator with her scientific expertise as a researcher. Most importantly, she is bringing to light one of the most crucial aspects of healing with those affected by violence, the narrative. We commend Dr. Dill and her team for their life-changing and transformative work."

Dr. Dill will present her work at this year’s APHA conference in Denver on November 1, 2016, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. A full copy of the abstract can be found here: https://apha.confex.com/apha/144am/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/358865.

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SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Health Related Professions, School of Graduate Studies, School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.


SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school. For more information, visit www.downstate.edu.


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