Patient Care

State Organization Honors Medical Center Anti-Violence Program

Jun. 23, 2010

The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) has honored the Rochester Youth Violence Partnership, based at the University of Rochester Medical Center, for its efforts at reducing violence and improving community health. The program is one of three that HANYS spotlighted for its 2010 Community Health Improvement Award.

“Kids should never get shot or stabbed," said Mark Gestring, M.D., medical director of the Strong Regional Trauma Program and director of anti-violence program. "These injuries rarely happen by accident and should be seen as indicators of unacceptable exposure to violence. Our program focuses on victims and families with a goal of preventing further violent injury.”
In addition to Gestring, the Medical Center youth violence program team includes Michael Scharf, M.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Gina Ryan, R.N., injury prevention coordinator, and Jeff Rideout, M.S.W., pediatric social worker.

Established in 1997, HANYS' community health improvement awards are the highest honor presented to recognize initiatives that improve community health; each year, the award (and honorable mentions) are presented to facilities and programs that target specific community health issues, demonstrate leadership, collaborate, create partnerships among diverse groups and achieve quantifiable results.

The top award was presented to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn for “The Live Light . . . Live Right” childhood obesity program. URMC's Rochester Youth Violence Partnership received one of two honorable mentions (a second was given to State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn for its Center for Community Health Promotion and Wellness).

HANYS President Daniel Sisto said: “These are just a few examples of the many innovative programs and services that New York’s hospitals and health care providers offer, all with the goal of improving community health. This year’s awardees were selected from a field of hundreds of similar proactive community health initiatives from across the state, which collectively represent health care providers’ tireless commitment to improving the health and well being of their communities.”

The awards were announced Wednesday, June 23, at the HANYS 42nd Annual Membership Conference. The nominations were judged by an external panel of experts in community health.

The Rochester Youth Violence Partnership (RYVP) is a hospital-based violence intervention program that targets trauma victims under the age of 18 when they are treated at the Medical Center for a knife or gun injury.

Established in 2006, the RYVP is a partnership headed by the Medical Center’s regional trauma program and supported by 28 local non-profit, government, and service-based organizations. The Medical Center serves as the “first responder” by treating injuries and identifying at-risk patients. When the patient is stabilized and the psychological and social issues identified, a coordinated series of law-enforcement and community partner-led interventions occur to help prevent additional violent episodes.

Since the inception of RYVP, 177 youth have been treated for gunshot or stab wounds at URMC's Golisano Children's Hospital, and at URMC's Kessler Family Burn/Trauma Unit, part of the Strong Regional Trauma Program. Of these, 155 have received a comprehensive social work assessment; 108 were referred to the gang-intervention team; and 91 received in-patient psychiatric evaluations.

In 2007, nine youths previously injured by violence returned as a result of violence. In the three years since then, none of have returned.