Regional Medical Center has announced plans to launch a hospital-based violence intervention program designed to promote positive alternatives to violence in our community. The goals of the program will be to reduce retaliation, criminal involvement and re-injury among youth injured by violence, as well as connect those youth and their families with opportunities and wrap-around social services.
With the only Level 1 Trauma Center in a 150-mile radius of Memphis, Regional Medical Center is the destination for individuals with traumatic injuries, including many who are young and injured by violence. While only a small percentage of more than 4000 trauma admissions annually are gunshot victims, one is one too many. The physicians and staff provide expert medical care to repair the physical damage done by violence, but then these young patients are discharged from the hospital and return to the same neighborhoods where they were injured.
“As a hospital, we realized these patients are being discharged physically healed, but with no ‘prescription’ to stay safe and without support to find non-violent solutions,” said Dr. Reginald Coopwood, President and CEO, Regional Medical Center. “We saw the hospital violence intervention program as an opportunity for us to accept an obligation to contribute to ending violence in our community.”
The program, which will launch in August 2013, will be coordinated by a Violence Intervention Liaison. The Liaison will assess youth and young adult patients affected by handgun violence and connect them to community resources with the goal of preventing recidivism and hospital readmissions. The Liaison will also coordinate with a team of outreach workers who will provide intensive follow up services and case management for up to one year. The services will include counseling, crisis intervention, mediation, job readiness preparation, GED classes, conflict resolution, mentoring and parenting skills.
The hospital-based violence intervention program came about through the City of Memphis Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which was created to develop novel initiatives to advance the city in very specific ways. City of Memphis Mayor AC Wharton asked the team to focus in two areas: the reduction of gun violence among young people and the promotion of neighborhood economic vitality. The Innovation Delivery Team approached Regional Medical Center with the intervention program idea as part of the “Memphis Gun Down” initiative to address violence in this community.
“Memphis Gun Down is excited to partner with Regional Medical Center to launch the hospital-based intervention program to complement our existing street and school-based interventions. We are committed to reaching out to our youth, impacting their lives and providing them with opportunities wherever they are. It is never too late for a young person to turn his life around and make a positive change,” said Mayor AC Wharton.