San Diego, October 26, 2008
— The new Sidel-Levy Award for Peace, which recognizes an APHA member who has made outstanding contributions to preventing war and promoting international peace, will be given to Farideh Kioumehr, DVM, MPH, DrPH, at the 136th APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego.
Kioumehr is founder and executive director of the International Health and Epidemiology Research Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and prevention of epidemics. As part of her position there, she established the Anti-Violence Campaign, an ongoing project that identifies gun violence as one of our society’s greatest social epidemics. The project began in 1994 as Peace Day, an event that has sought to educate parents, community leaders and children of the dangers of gun violence. Over the years, thousands of toy guns, weapons, violent video games and other items have been collected along with thousands of signatures on petitions against gun violence.
From the collected toy guns and other weapons, art pieces have been created and displayed in the Los Angeles Children’s Art Museum, Irvine City Hall, Culver City Library and other venues to spread the message of the dangers of gun violence, and Peace Day is now being replicated in cities across the United States, as well as internationally in such countries as Canada, Brazil, France and South Africa.
Kioumehr also served as a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Safety Planning Committee and was so successful in bringing to light the danger of toy guns for children that the center encouraged schools around the country to replicate her model during America’s Safe School Week. She has organized peace marches in California and across the country against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She also participated in marches against the Vietnam War as a young student at the University of Michigan, where she received her MPH and DrPH in epidemiology. She believes in a violence-free society and a violence-free world.
Among her many honors and nominations, she received a Community Service Award from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, the Daily Point of Light Award from the Point of Light Foundation, a Spirit of Volunteerism Award and a San Fernando Woman of the Year Award. She has been featured extensively in the media as advocating against toy guns because they fuel real violence.
In addition to heading the International Health and Epidemiology Research Center, Kioumehr is chief executive officer of the Century Medical Imaging Center in Burbank, Calif., and present and CEO of America Medical Imaging Center Inc. in Glendale, Calif. She has given many presentations and written many papers and reports carrying the anti-violence message and has been a member of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles since 1994.