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Department of Emergency Medicine Healing Hurt People

Healing Hurt People is a hospital-based violence intervention program designed to reduce re-injury and retaliation among youths ages 8 to 30 in Philadelphia. It is the cornerstone program of Drexel's Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, whose mission is to decrease violence and trauma through public health policy, practice research and training.


About the Program

The program was created by an interdisciplinary team consisting of an emergency room physician, an internist, a psychiatrist, a social worker and a psychologist with extensive expertise in violence prevention and trauma.

With this interdisciplinary approach, Healing Hurt People addresses the needs — physical, emotional and social — that victims of violence face after being released from the emergency department. Rather than addressing the needs of young victims of violence as a criminal justice concern only, Healing Hurt People strives to shift the perspective to include public health concerns.

The program is currently affiliated with the Emergency Department at Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

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Philadelphia has been plagued by ongoing street violence.

Violence in Philadelphia

Of the 1,128 shooting victims in 2013, 78% were under the age of 34. There were also nearly 8,000 aggravated assaults reported.

Philadelphia has been plagued by ongoing street violence. It's a problem that's perpetuated by the eye-for-an-eye mentality that's instilled in so many urban youths. Healing Hurt People aims to break that cycle by addressing the needs of violence victims before they choose to retaliate.

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The Golden Hour

The time after traumatic injury is referred to as the "golden hour." While in the emergency department, those who have been violently injured report that their thoughts are to either change their way of life or to retaliate. Until now, most emergency departments treat the physical wounds of violence victims but neglect these three factors that could potentially lead to future emergency room visits:

  • Someone probably still wants to do the injured person harm.
  • The injured person might be planning to retaliate against the assailant.
  • The psychological trauma of being the target of attempted murder might contribute to behaviors that increase risk of re-injury and retaliation.

During this "golden hour," victims of violence are at a crossroads. Without any guidance, after being discharged just hours later, they are likely to choose the more familiar road, one that leads back to the violent environment that sent them to the emergency room in the first place. Healing Hurt People strives to guide victims during this pivotal time toward a path of reform. The program does this by introducing several service options.

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How It Works

Healing Hurt People works with patients of intentional injury — shootings, stabbings, assaults, etc. — during the "golden hour" in the emergency department to offer services that will help turn their lives around. When a patient is seen in the emergency department for intentional injury, the hospital staff contacts Healing Hurt People staff, who then speak with the patient and encourage him or her to connect with a variety of services. These include:

  • Medical follow-up
  • Emotional support for post-traumatic stress
  • Mentoring
  • Working with schools to help students affected by school violence
  • Housing
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Recreation
  • Legal services
  • After-school program referral
  • Job training and placement
  • Parenting education and support

 
The Healing Hurt People staff ensures that the patient has a safe place to go upon leaving the hospital. Follow-up is made through phone calls and scheduled home visits after discharge to ensure that clients have successfully connected to referred support services. Support continues on a periodic basis to ensure progress. Healing Hurt People staff serve as navigators for the client to the various support services, providing transportation when necessary, accompanying youth to appointments, and providing much-needed support and mentoring. Weekly case reviews are conducted with the interdisciplinary team to ensure function of the program and management of challenging cases. The work of HHP is divided into five primary components: assessment, navigation and case management, mentoring, S.E.L.F. psychoeducational groups and case review.

These services address issues that aren't typically treated in the emergency department. By simply letting patients know these are available, the door for change has been opened, and each year more and more people are taking advantage.

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In the Media

Ted Corbin: Philly’s Next Health Hero?
Ted Corbin, MD, has been nominated as a semifinalist in the Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge, presented by Philadelphia magazine and Independence Blue Cross. Drexel News Blog (August 18, 2017)

Healing Hurt People Receives National Award for Innovation in Aiding Crime Victims
Ted Corbin, MD, associate professor in Drexel’s College of Medicine and Dornsife School of Public Health, and John Rich, MD, professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, were both on-hand to receive the Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services. Corbin serves as the medical director of Healing Hurt People and Rich is the director of Drexel’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, which houses the program. Drexel News Blog (April 7, 2017)

Talking It Out: Constant Trauma and Its Effect on Young Men of Color
Drexel News Blog (December 5, 2016)

Philadelphia's Healing Hurt People Helps Violence Victims Recover: Pathways to Peace
Cleveland Plain Dealer (June 7, 2016)

In Philadelphia, a Dealer Becomes a Healer: Pathways to Peace
Cleveland Plain Dealer (June 7, 2016)

In Philadelphia, Healing Trauma Is Intense, Difficult Work: Pathways to Peace
Cleveland Plain Dealer (June 7, 2016)

The College of Medicine and Healing Hurt People were mentioned in an April 17, 2016, Philadelphia Magazine story, "Are Doctors the Key to Ending Philly Gun Violence?"

John Rich, MD, a professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health and director of the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, and Theodore Corbin, MD, MPP, FACEP, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, were quoted in an Indianapolis Recorder story on February 17, 2016, about Drexel's Healing Hurt People program.

Theodore Corbin, MD, MPP, FACEP, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and John Rich, MD, MPH, professor in the School of Public Health, were quoted in a February 5, 2016, story from the Urban News Service about Healing Hurt People, a violence intervention program at Drexel's Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice. The story was picked up by the Seattle Medium, the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, and the Michigan Chronicle.

Linda Rich, director of education and consultation with the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice and its Healing Hurt People program, was quoted in a July 31, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer article about violence intervention programs in Philadelphia.

The Healing Hurt People program was featured in a Yahoo! News article titled "Battling America's other PTSD crisis" in March 2015.

The Pacific Standard mentioned the Healing Hurt People program in an article, "How Hospitals Can Help Stop the Cycle of Youth Violence," in January 2015.

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Medical Staff

Sandra Bloom, MD

Dr. Sandra Bloom

Sandra L. Bloom, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist and renowned author who speaks nationally and internationally about the impact of traumatic experience on individuals, families, organizations and cultures. In addition to the three books she has authored, she has edited another book on violence, has edited or co-edited and contributed to two issues of Psychiatric Quarterly and two issues of Therapeutic Communities as well as authoring 15 chapters and more than 30 journal articles.


Ted Corbin, MD, MPP

Dr. Ted Corbin

Ted Corbin, MD, MPP, is an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the College of Medicine and also serves as the medical director of Healing Hurt People. Corbin received his master's in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. In 2006 Dr. Corbin was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the "Forty Under Forty" for his work in youth violence. Most recently, Dr. Corbin was awarded a Stoneleigh Foundation Fellowship to demonstrate the evidence behind a hospital-based violence intervention program.


Erica J. Harris, MD

Dr. Erica Harris

Erica Harris, MD is Healing Hurt People's first injury and public health research fellow and an instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Harris engages in HHP's ongoing research activities, educates residents and students, and is pursuing a master's of public health through Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. Prior to joining Healing Hurt People, Dr. Harris authored a policy brief as an intern with the Justice Policy Institute on the burden of trauma among youth in the juvenile justice system. Dr. Harris received her BS in Biology from American University and her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University Hospital.


John Rich, MD, MPH

Dr. John Rich

John A. Rich, MD, MPH, is a professor of health management and policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. He is also the director of the Center for Nonviolence and Justice at Drexel. Dr. Rich's work has focused on issues of urban violence and trauma, health disparities, and on the health of men of color. In 2006, Dr. Rich was granted a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. In awarding this distinction, the Foundation cited his work to design "new models of health care that stretch across the boundaries of public health, education, social service and justice systems to engage young men in caring for themselves and their peers."

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Blurred emergency patient being moved in a hospital.