"Linking Immuno-Epidemiology Principles to Violence"
Societies have always struggled with the causes and effects of violence, but only recently has there been a drive to better understand violence as a disease and to consider it from a public health perspective. Through the work of many physicians and psychologists we have realized violence is less like a moral failing and more like a disease. This realization unified professionals from the medical/epidemiological fields and those in psychology in a common goal to end violence and help heal those exposed to it. Recently, interesting analogies have been made between community-level infectious disease epidemiology and how violence spreads within a community. Experts in public health and medicine have suggested that an epidemiological framework could be used to study violence.
Infectious disease studies are often approached from two different scales: outbreak/community and immune system/individual. At both the epidemiological/community and immune system/individual scales, mathematical modeling of infectious disease dynamics plays an important role. Each scale has been modeled in isolation from the other; however, there is a natural connection between the epidemiological and immune system dynamics, since a person’s immune response determines the likelihood of transmission to others. Thus, there has been a push to consider both scales in the multi-scale integrated approach of Immuno-Epidemiological (IE) modeling. We plan to apply the approaches used for IE modeling to violence by employing the epidemiological part of the model to explore violence spread on the community level and the immune system model to look at the impact that violence exposure has on an individual with respect to increasing their propensity to commit violence.
In this talk I will expand on and formalize the analogy of violence as an infectious disease and show how the well-developed principles of mathematical epidemiology and immunology is a useful framework for understanding the dynamics of violence. Next, we will look at a preliminary susceptible-exposed-infected (SEI) mathematical model for violence spread on the community level and compare this model with traditional disease modeling. Then we will explore some basic equilibrium and stability analysis of the SEI model and look at the real-world interpretations of this analysis.