Doctor works to save youth from violence before they reach his ER
As an emergency physician at Kings County Hospital Center [in Brooklyn], Dr. Rob Gore has faced many traumatic situations that he'd rather forget. But some moments stick with him. "Probably the worst thing that I've ever had to do is tell a 15-year-old's mother that her son was killed," Gore said. "If I can't keep somebody alive, I've failed." [...]
"Conflict's not avoidable. But violent conflict is," Gore said. "Seeing a lot of the traumas that take place at work, or in the neighborhood, you realize, 'I don't want this to happen anymore. What do we do about it?"
For Gore, one answer is the “Kings Against Violence Initiative" - known as KAVI - which he started in 2009. Today, the nonprofit has anti-violence programs in the hospital, schools and broader community, serving more than 250 young people.
Victims of violence are more likely to be reinjured, so the first place Gore wanted to work was in the hospital, with an intervention program in which "hospital responders" assist victims of violence and their family - a model pioneered at other hospitals. The idea is that reaching out right after someone has been injured reduces the likelihood of violent retaliation and provides a chance for the victim to address some of the circumstances that may have led to their injury.
Gore started this program at his hospital with a handful of volunteers from KAVI. Today, the effort is a partnership between KAVI and a few other nonprofits, with teams on call 24/7.
Yet Gore wanted to prevent people from being violently injured in the first place. So, in 2011, he and his group began working with a handful of at-risk students at a nearby high school. By the end of the year, more than 50 students were involved. Today, KAVI holds weekly workshops for male and female students in three schools, teaching mediation and conflict resolution. The group also provides free mental health counseling for students who need one-on-one support.
"Violence is everywhere they turn - home, school, neighborhood, police," Gore said. "You want to make sure they can learn how to process, deal with it and overcome it."
While Gore still regularly attends workshops, most are now led by peer facilitators - recent graduates and college students, some of whom are former KAVI members - who serve as mentors to the students. School administrators say the program has been a success: lowering violence, raising grades and sending many graduates on to college.
"This is really about the community in which we live"
he said. "This is my home. And I'm going to do whatever is
possible to make sure people can actually thrive."
(Adapted and abridged from http ://www.cnn.com)
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