The University Record, March 6, 2000

Medstart Conference focuses on growing up in a violent world

By Rebecca A. Doyle

One of the major goals of Medstart is to expose current and future professionals to children’s issues early in their careers. Photo courtesy Medstart
On March 11, students from the U-M’s professional schools will join law, medical, social work, public health and other professionals for the day-long 8th annual Medstart Conference titled “Growing Up in a Violent World: Providing Hope for the Next Generation.”

This year’s conference co-chairs Jennifer Preston and Kimberly Candido hope that the timely topic will attract both professionals and a general audience. Audience members will receive an introduction to such topics as youth and gangs, child abuse and prevention, the impact of violence on children, effects of media violence on children and health-risk behavior among adolescents. Eighteen workshops and two keynote addresses provide a thorough look at the problem of violence in public schools and in homes across the United States.

The morning keynote address at 9 a.m. by Reuben Warren, associate administrator for urban affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addresses the broad implications of violence on the health of society in his talk “Violence: Prevention or Avoidance.” Warren published an article similarly titled in the Journal of the National Medical Association and has spoken on the topic at several national conferences.

At 1:40 p.m., a second keynote address will be offered by Joe Clark, director of the Essex County Youth House in Newark, N.J. Essex House is a juvenile detention center Clark has run since 1995. He won national acclaim for changing Eastside High School in Paterson, N.J., from a raucous and unsafe environment to one declared a model school by the state’s governor only two years later. He says that discipline is the key to an environment where learning can take place. A former Army drill instructor, Clark expelled 300 students during his first week as principal of Eastside and was named one of the

nation’s 10 principals of leadership in 1986. His achievements earned him a Time magazine cover story, and appearances on “60 Minutes,” and, he was the subject of the film Lean on Me. His topic is “Lean on Me: Eliminating Fear and Violence from Education.”

Medstart began in 1991, when a group of medical students, concerned about the lack of information on health and children’s welfare they received in their first two years, organized a conference to study these issues. The group believes that a holistic approach to understanding and acting in the field of children’s health and welfare can only be achieved by bringing together students in many of the health professions and from as many different backgrounds as possible.

Students can register in advance for the conference for $10; pre-registration for non-students is $20. If on-site registration still is available March 11, the fees will be $15 and $25 respectively. For more information on the conference, a list of speakers and their topics, or to register, visit the Web at To register for the conference, send e-mail to or call 528-1196.

Professionals attending the conference can get up to 4.5 credit hours in category I credit toward the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award.