The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia co-sponsored a major youth violence prevention conference that brought together experts from around the country for two days of presentations about hospitals’ collaboration with law enforcement and mental health professionals.

The fourth annual National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (NNHVIP) conference was held in September at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. The NNHVIP’s mission is to strengthen existing hospital-based violence intervention programs and to help develop similar programs in communities across the country. Since its inception in 2009, the NNHVIP has grown to comprise 22 programs in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

“Healing, Safety, and Restorative Justice: System Partnerships for Violence Intervention,” was the focus of this year’s conference. Co-directors of the NNHVIP’s Philadelphia headquarters Ted Corbin, MD, MPP, and Joel Fein, MD, MPH, delivered the welcoming remarks.

Dr. Fein is the director of outreach for CHOP’s Center for Pediatric Trauma Stress, co-director of CHOP’s Violence Prevention Initiative, a member of the boards of directors of both The Institute for Safe Families and the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, and an attending physician in CHOP’s emergency department.

A recent speech by Mayors Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans at the National Press Club highlighted the growing problem of violent crime in America, particularly among and by young African American men. In 2013, 247 homicides occurred in Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.

“We must change,” Mayor Nutter said. “This is a national problem with national implications that deserves a national response and action, everyone doing their part … If we do not have the urgency to stand up now and say enough, then when?”

The conference also was sponsored by Drexel University and the Oakland, Calif.-based urban youth advocacy organization Youth Alive!. To learn more about ways the NNHVIP works to prevent violence, see the organization’s website.