More than 30 health care, medical, and public health organizations urge policymakers to fund hospital-based violence intervention programs and other community violence interventions as part of a strategy to help curb the nation’s gun violence epidemic
This week, the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) led a coalition of 33 health care, medical, and public health organizations in a letter to congressional appropriators urging fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding to support hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) and other community violence interventions. The letter outlines the value of these multidisciplinary programs which help break the cycle of violence by connecting patients at risk of experiencing or perpetrating violent injury with key hospital, community-based, and case management services to prevent repeat injury and retaliatory violence.
“There is an urgent need for more HVIPs and other community violence interventions as part of a broader strategy to combat the public health crisis of violence, including injury and deaths from firearms,” said David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO. “Along with many of our colleagues dedicated to the health and well-being of all people, we are eager to find ways to build upon these proven programs to reduce violence and make our communities safer.”
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that homicide was responsible for more than 19,000 deaths in 2019 and was the leading cause of death for 15-34-year-old non-Hispanic Black men. The letter to leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Kay Granger (R-Texas), notes, “Survivors of violence suffer corresponding physical and emotional injuries and may lack the support networks or resources to manage the long-term effects and prevent their recurrence. In collaboration with community partners, HVIPs initiate trauma-informed interventions as patients recover within the hospital setting and follow up with long-term services such as counseling, job training, mentoring, home visits, and other assistance.”
The letter goes on to urge congressional appropriators to “support FY 2022 funding for violence intervention programs, which are an important component of any comprehensive strategy to apply proven public health solutions to this public health epidemic. By supporting these and other strategies to interrupt cycles of preventable injuries, we can continue to combat violence and save lives.”
Read the full letter here.