Domestic Violence and Health: Understanding Root Causes and Policy Options

October 18, 2023
1:00 pm-

2:30 pm

Virtual Event

Event Description

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), is a prevalent public health issue. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced severe domestic violence, and research shows that domestic violence rates rose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experiencing domestic violence can have a profound and lifelong impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. Evidence-based prevention programs, trauma-informed support services, and holistic approaches that address the intersection of domestic violence and the social drivers of health (SDOH) are critical to interrupting cycles of abuse and improving individual and community health.

This webinar, hosted during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, equipped policymakers with a foundational understanding of the root causes and contributing factors of domestic violence to better evaluate potential policy levers for systemic change. Panelists provided actionable information about the latest research, practices, and policies for preventing and addressing domestic violence at the federal level.

This virtual event was sponsored by Blue Shield of California Foundation.


Juan Carlos Areán, PhD

Program Director, Futures Without Violence
Juan Carlos Areán, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized activist, public speaker, trainer and facilitator, and published author. Since 1991, he has worked to engage men across different cultures to become better fathers, intimate partners and allies to end domestic violence and achieve gender equity. He presently works as a Program Director at Futures Without Violence. Previously, he served as Director of the National Latin@ Network at Casa de Esperanza and as a Sexual Assault Prevention Specialist at Harvard University.  Dr. Areán was the lead developer of Futures Without Violence’s Fathering After Violence Initiative and Casa de Esperanza’s Campaign Te Invito. He is co-author of various articles, curricula and educational tools for men, including Working With Fathers in Batterer Intervention Programs (Oxford University Press) and Healing and Supporting Fathers: Principles, Practices, and Resources for Fatherhood Programs to Help Address and Prevent Domestic Violence (OPRE). He is a founding member of the United Nations Network of Men Leaders to combat violence against women created by former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Dr. Areán has served as an expert in many media outlets, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the Huffington Post, Medium, CNN en Español, Univisión and Telemundo. He is an active trainer and facilitator, who has led hundreds of workshops and presentations throughout the United States, the Americas and the Caribbean, as well as in Europe, Asia, the US Congress, the White House, and the United Nations in New York and Geneva.

L.Y. Marlow, MBA

CEO and Founder, Saving Promise
L.Y. Marlow is the founder of Saving Promise—a national domestic violence prevention organization inspired by five generations of mothers and daughters in her family that suffered and survived more than seventy-five years of domestic violence, including her granddaughter, a little girl named Promise. She is also the Principal of the Harvard Learning Lab—an innovative domestic violence research and development initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; an award-winning author, and a sought-after advocate, lecturer and influencer for domestic violence prevention.

Brigid McCaw, MD, MPH, MS, FACP

Clinical Health Policy Consultant, UCLA-UCSF ACE's Aware Initiative
Brigid McCaw is a national healthcare leader in family violence prevention- providing clinician training, conducting research, and contributing to policy development with a focus on the healthcare response to family violence. She was Medical Director of the nationally recognized Kaiser Permanente Family Violence Prevention Program from 2001-2019. She led the implementation of a comprehensive approach for improving screening, identification, and services for intimate partner violence (IPV). She has lectured extensively and published on the health effects of IPV. Her research and publications also include health effects of sexual assault, improving the health systems response to family violence, screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACES), and trauma and resiliency informed care. She completed her MD, MS at UC Berkeley-San Francisco Joint Medical Program, MPH at UC Berkeley, and internal medicine residency at UC Davis. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, past Chair of the National Health Collaborative on Violence and Abuse, and past member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention. Currently she is a member of the Defense Health Board and co-chair of the Subcommittee on Healthcare Delivery. She is a clinical advisor to the California ACES Aware Initiative.

Arlene Vassell

Founding Director, TooREL Institute for Social Change
Arlene Vassell (she/her/hers) is the Founding Director of TooReL Institute for Social Change. She is a sought-after speaker, trainer, facilitator and thought leader. She has dedicated her entire career to ending and preventing gender-based violence (GBV), disrupting systems and structures of inequalities and oppression, promoting leadership advancement of people of color, and developing equity centered, trauma-informed, culturally relevant programming. For over 25 years, Arlene has worked alongside and on behalf of individuals whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, homelessness, human trafficking, substance use, poverty, and other life altering situations. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Programs, Prevention and Social Change at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. She has provided thousands of hours of trainings and comprehensive capacity building support to individuals, government agencies, non-profit organizations, state level coalitions, and community-based organizations on topics related to implementing trauma informed, evidence-based, equity-centered policies and practices. Additionally, she developed and implemented dozens of programs and initiatives intended to accelerate organizational changes on all levels. Arlene’s work and commitment to dismantling inequitable systems and supporting survivors of GBV have been highlighted in numerous publications and articles. She has served on numerous state-level national committees and workgroups and received many recognitions and awards for her unwavering advocacy work. Arlene is a mother, a proud immigrant born in Jamaica, an entrepreneur, a self-published author, a joy seeker, and a hope dealer.

Lynn Rosenthal

Director of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Lynn Rosenthal is the HHS Director of Sexual and Gender-based Violence at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she leads the Department’s work to implement the National Plan to End Gender-based Violence and related initiatives. In 2021, Lynn was appointed by Secretary Austin to chair then Independent Review Commission on Sexual Harassment and Assault in the U.S. Military. Lynn served for three years as President of the Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus Ohio, a multi-service organization providing child advocacy, maternal health care, and domestic violence services. From 2009 to 2015, Lynn was the first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women and a senior advisor to then-Vice President Biden.

Presentation: Speaker Slides

Event Resources


Expert List:

Juan Carlos Arean, Ph.D.

Program Director, Futures Without Violence 

Jacquelyn Campbell, Ph.D., MSN, R.N.

Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing 

Arnold Chandler, M.S.

Founder and CEO, Forward Change Consulting

Debbie Chang

President and CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation 

Cailin Crockett, MPH

Director, Defense Personnel/Senior Advisor, Gender Policy Council, National Security Council

Shawndell Dawson

Director of the Office of Family Violence Prevention and Services (OFVPS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

 Linda DeGutis, DrPH, MSN

Lecturer, Yale School of Public Health

Micaela Deming, J.D.

Policy Director, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Virginia Duplessis, MSW

Health Associate Director, Futures Without Violence

Rus Ervin Funk, MSW

Founder, Rus Funk Consulting

Betsy McAlister Groves, MSW

Founder/Advisor, Child Witness to Violence Project, Boston Medical Center

Rosie Hidalgo, J.D.

Director of Office on Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice

Lisa James

Vice President of Health, Futures Without Violence

L.Y. Marlow, MBA

Founder, Saving Promise

Brigid McCaw, M.D., M.S., MPH, FACP

Clinical and Health Policy Consultant, UCLA-UCSF’s ACE’s Aware Initiative 

Lynn Rosenthal

Director of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Lan Pham, MSW, MPH

Executive Director, LA County Domestic Violence Council

Keshia Pollock-Porter, Ph.D.

Bloomberg Centennial Chair of Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Megan Simmons, MPA, J.D.

Legal Compliance Expert and Corporate Consultant

Kiersten Stewart, M.A.

Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy, Futures Without Violence

Tien Ung, Ph.D., MSW

Impact and Learning Program Director, Futures Without Violence

Roberta (“Rob”) Valente, Ph.D.

Interim Director of National Center on Gun Violence in Relationships, Battered Women’s Justice Project

Arlene Vassell

Founding Director, TooREL Institute for Social Change

Marianna J. Yang, J.D.

Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School