How Hospitals Are Helping to Reduce Gun Violence
The gun violence epidemic in the USA goes beyond the well-known problem of mass shootings or gunfire between adults on street corners. Peer violence is pervasive in the lives of both boys and girls as young as eight years old, and these experiences can escalate over time to serious injury or death.
The good news is that many medical professionals recognize this public health crisis and are trying to do something about it. In fact, some of the medical centers that see young victims of violence have developed programs that do much more than just treat their physical wounds and send them home.
The Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was established in 2012 by Joel Fein, MD, MPH, an Emergency Department (ED) Physician who had treated far too many assault injured youth. For most, the ED was able to heal their physical wounds, but the patients were discharged back into the community only to be re-admitted with similar violent injuries. Dr. Fein realized that violence prevention required a public health approach, and trauma-informed care needed to be at the core of providing services to families.