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Hartford Launches Hospital-Based Gun-Violence Intervention Program

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Thursday, May 19, 2022   

With firearm deaths in Connecticut and across the country on the rise, a new initiative in Hartford aims to interrupt gun violence through a partnership between community organizations and hospitals.

Through the collaboration, Saint Francis Hospital, Connecticut Children's and Hartford Hospital will work with community organizations to provide mental-health and other services to hospitalized individuals and families impacted by gun violence.

Andrew Woods is the executive director of Hartford Communities That Care, one of the organizations partnering with the hospitals. He said supporting victims in the immediate aftermath of their injuries can help keep people safe in the long term.

"These programs are vitally important," said Woods, "to really get families and individuals who have been impacted to take a look at, one, recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma - how it's impacting their lives, how it's undermining their social-emotional well-being - and therefore put themselves at greater risks of being revictimized or perpetrating violence against another person."

Hartford Communities That Care has been running a hospital-based violence-intervention program with Saint Francis since 2004. Since then, they've connected more than 1,900 people who are victims of gun violence to wraparound and medical services.

Kevin Borrup is the executive director of the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children's. He said this kind of initiative, which already is in place in cities across the country, is about treating gun violence as a public health crisis.

"We are not going to be able to solve this, as an example, with law enforcement alone," said Borrup. "And so part of the intervention is working with that family to ensure that violence doesn't happen to them again and to figure out in their own life, what can we do to ensure that?"

The initiative is supported through $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds. The hospitals are in the process of hiring an intervention specialist who will work with organizations to connect survivors with services, including mentoring and home visits.




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