TEDx talk highlights highly preventable childhood disease

 Kim Waller1284
Kim Waller, Ph.D.

What’s one of the most preventable childhood diseases in the world today? The answer might surprise you. It’s child abuse, according to Kim Waller, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Waller gave a TEDx talk on the subject this year at Rice University in Houston, outlining a plan for a public health campaign to reduce the high rate of physical child abuse of children in the United States. Most child abuse starts before a child turns two.

Waller gave a TEDx talk on the subject this year at Rice University in Houston, outlining a plan for a public health campaign to reduce the high rate of physical child abuse of children in the United States. Most child abuse starts before a child turns two.

Waller opened her talk with some alarming statistics:

  • In a survey of 3,000 Dutch parents, 5 out of every 100 of those parents admitted to having smothered, slapped or shaken their baby because it was crying too much.
  • Among children in the United States, 1 out of every 100 children will become a confirmed case of child abuse.

She presented three ideas to prevent child abuse before it starts:

1) A national campaign to better understand and react to the stress of a crying infant or a rebellious toddler

2) Screening of newborns to identify high-risk families and offer them home visits

3) The possibility of a national law against corporal punishment for children under the age of two

As a public health nurse, Waller has conducted home visits for at risk families. This experience convinced her that child abuse is a very preventable condition. She has taught at UTHealth School of Public Health for 25 years, gaining expertise in how the public health approach can be used to prevent or reduce diseases, such as child abuse.

Click here to watch Waller’s TEDx talk on child abuse entitled, “Preventing Child Abuse Before It Starts.”

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Written by Anissa Anderson Orr