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MANAGEMENT UPDATE.

GUN VIOLENCE VICTIMS NEED MORE THAN "JUST BANDAGES"

On February 13, Cincinnati City Manager Sheryl Long announced a “first-of-its-kind” Hospital-Based Violence Intervention partnership between the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The new program will provide a variety of critical wraparound services to gun-shot victims up to 44 years old to help stem gun violence and future injuries.


Cincinnati’s long history of fighting gun violence heightened in recent years as national studies found firearm injuries topping car accidents as the leading cause of child and teenage fatalities in 2020. As a percentage of the total, the number of shootings involving young people in Cincinnati doubled in 2023, according to Anna Albi, a city council member who led the city’s grassroots Moms Demand Action program prior to joining the council in January, even though violent crime generally has lessened there. 



In a news conference announcing a $600,000 grant to the hospital-based programs, Assistant City Manager Virginia Tallent said that “This program is not just about treating physical injuries. It’s about addressing the complex web of factors that perpetuate violence. Each year, hundreds of individuals, children and adults alike in our city arrive in our hospitals with the physical scars of violence. . . We refuse to continue to meet them with just bandages.”


While the partnership involved in Cincinnati’s new program is unusual, hospital-based violence intervention programs have been studied over many years and are gaining traction around the country, driven by evidence that they make a difference. Data show that rates of people who are victims of more than one incident of gun violence are rising but that hospital-based programs can turn that trend around. One Baltimore study found that 5% of patients who were involved in an intervention treatment program were subsequently re-hospitalized compared with 36% who did not participate.


“This approach will allow us to track the reinjury rate and know the services that people need,” Albi told us.


As Albi points out, gun violence treatment services are geared not just to crime, but also injuries sustained in suicide attempts or when young children have access to firearms. “Last fall, my neighborhood lost a three-year-old when a gun was left out in their house and another child picked it up,” she said.


The $600,000 award to the two trauma-based hospital programs is only one of multiple efforts that the city has funded to stem gun violence with hopes that community groups, health experts, human services and police can make a difference by working together. As part of this effort, the city has also hired a Violence Reduction Manager, DeAngelo Rosa Harris, who started his work for Cincinnati on February 19.


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