Local Hero: Billie P. Weiss

Billie P. Weiss

I see change happening every day in some of the most impacted communities by people working together, and I know that I want to contribute to making all of our neighborhoods safe so that not one single young person dies from violence.

Billie P. Weiss, MPH, is a local hero who has gained national attention through her role as a leader in violence prevention. After raising five children, earning her bachelor's and master's degrees later in life and losing her husband to Alzheimer's Disease, Ms. Weiss has applied her perseverance and immeasurable strength to building safer communities as founder, acting director and a steering committee member of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles (VPC).

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In 1991, VPC was formed as a part of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. It was a joint venture of community-based organizations, individuals, and public institutions and agencies in the Greater Los Angeles area that collaborate to prevent violence using a public health approach. In 2003 VPC became its own entity.

Ms. Weiss has significantly contributed to VPC's success. With more than 900 members, VPC has played a pivotal role in influencing policy makers and the public to view violence as a crime prevention issue and continues to be instrumental in the development and evaluation of violence prevention policies. Ms. Weiss has also volunteered countless hours to write grants, develop workshops and programs, recruit steering committee members and engage in advocacy efforts on the state and local levels. Ms. Weiss also served as a mentor to staff, volunteers and other nonprofit organizations that provide services to victims of domestic violence abuse and other forms of violence.

Ms. Weiss is currently the associate director of the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Program at the UCLA School of Public Health. She is the former director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Injury and Violence Prevention Program.

Ms. Weiss has authored numerous papers and three book chapters, and co-authored the "Advancement Project Report on Reducing Gang and Youth Violence in Los Angeles."

Ms. Weiss has served as a member of the Interagency Gang Task Force, Los Angeles County Family Violence Task Force, the Domestic Violence Council, Women Against Gun Violence, the National HELP Network and many other organizations that work to reduce community violence and abuse.

Ms. Weiss' dedication to violence prevention has been widely recognized. In 2008, she received the California Peace Prize from The California Endowment and was named Courageous Leader by Women Against Gun Violence. Ms. Weiss also received the Humanitarian Award from Peace Over Violence, formerly known as Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, in 2006, Local Heroes Award from Court TV, Time Warner Cable, in 2003, and the Milton Roemer Award, from the California Public Health Association, in 2002, to name a few.

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