Opportunity in the Emergency Room
The ER can be the last chance to save a violence victim's life — and the best chance to keep them safe in the future…
The emergency room might be the last chance to save the life of a victim of violence. It also might be the best chance to keep him or her safe in the future.
In treating young victims of gunshots, stabbings and assaults, emergency physician Dr. Ted Corbin noted two common mindsets: Some wanted to change aspects of their lives that may have put them in harm's way; others' thoughts turned to revenge. Either way, the hours immediately after traumatic injury were critical to stopping the cycle of violence.
Corbin, an associate professor in Drexel's College of Medicine and School of Public Health, is the creator and medical director of the Healing Hurt People program in the interdisciplinary Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice. Healing Hurt People puts teams in hospital emergency departments to connect victims to resources that can help them deal with the problems that may have exposed them to violence. These resources include counseling, mentoring, housing, substance abuse treatment and job training.
"WE PUT TOGETHER A PROGRAM THAT RECOGNIZES HOW CHRONIC ADVERSITY, STRESS AND VIOLENCE AFFECT A PERSON’S PHYSIOLOGY,” SAYS CORBIN. “IT’S AN ARSENAL OF DIFFERENT STRATEGIES THAT WE USE TO WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE SUCCESSFUL."
Corbin developed Healing Hurt People with support from Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, and launched the program at Hahnemann University Hospital. It later expanded to serve younger people at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, and Corbin has guided proponents of hospital-based intervention in launching similar programs in cities across the nation including Portland, Oregon, and Chicago. A fellowship from the Stoneleigh Foundation and support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation are helping Corbin demonstrate the effectiveness of Healing Hurt People.