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Informed by Communities, Designed for Community

  • School 28 Backpack Collection

    TAVA Students Becoming Stop the Bleed Certified

  • Puerto Rico Relief Fund

    Puerto Rico Relief Fund

  • David Linehan, MD getting to know the students

    TAVA Student Program

    David Linehan, MD getting to know the students

  • Paula Cupertino, PhD with Clay Harris

    Stop the Violence Easter Dinner

    Paula Cupertino, PhD with Clay Harris

  • Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable Meeting with the TAVA Scholars

    Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable Meeting with the TAVA Scholars

Informed by Communities, Designed for Community: Communities

Efforts from the Department of Surgery continue to create positive, constructive experiences for our diverse community members. 

URMC DoS is surrounded by eight urban zip codes with the highest poverty and the majority of citizens (84%). These communities experience debilitating health disparities, which culminate in an increase in loss of life which is 150% greater than other city zip codes in the county. The source of morbidity includes above-average incidence of chronic illnesses including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, low birth weights, infant mortality, and high rates of smoking and vaping. Within these communities the multi-sectorial social determinants of health (SDoH) are alarming: 1) the food insecurity rate is 30% compared to 9% in the county; 2) more than 20% of households are vehicle-less; 3) violent crime rate -citywide- is 95% higher than the nation; 4) child abuse and neglect have increased from 9% in 2013 to 18% in 2020; 5) the incarceration rate of 1,051 per 100,000 city residents is more than five times the rate of New York City. Perhaps the most disconcerting barriers are the lack of access to educational resources and social mobility. Eliminating these inequities is particularly critical in DoS surrounded by ethnically and racially diverse catchment areas. More specifically, in the city of Rochester, NY where the Next-GenS program takes place, more than 40% of the residents are Black, and 21% are Latino.

Building Community Partnership with Trauma Division and ENCOMPASS to Address Anti-Violence in the community

EnCompass is uniquely positioned by its reach, student-family-centered outcomes, collaboration experience, and financial health to develop, implement anti-violence interventions, address SDoH, advance health equity, and catalyze structural change. In response to four decades of sweeping educational disparities, generational poverty, health inequity, and structural racism EnCompass was established (2004) by Rochester educators and community leaders to develop and provide innovative educational services and support to students and families, schools, communities, and professionals that support them.

Welcome Students

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Teen Anti-Violence Alliance: Collaboration is Key

Rochester youth, particularly the 2,400 students EnCompass serves every year, are disproportionately affected by surging community gun violence. Thanks to Health Equity Award funding awarded by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, teens in the EnCompass Future Ready will lead the Teen Anti-Violence Alliance (TAVA), and are poised to discover, influence, and pave pathways to change, hand-in-hand with community stakeholders. 

Nine teens, in collaboration with University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Surgery Division of Trauma/Acute Care Surgery and the City of Rochester will engage in nearly 200 hours of educational, mentoring, data collection, and outreach programming and contribute to public health initiatives including Stop the Bleed, Rochester Youth Violence Partnership, and City of Rochester efforts. Rochester students will meaningfully engage as “co-creators of solutions” to mitigate the growing violence they experience in their community. 

The Teen Anti-Violence Alliance will provide students with a greater understanding of structural racism, disparities and inequities, and their effects on community health and violence; evidence they discover will lead to awareness of these powerful forces and constructive action to confront and reduce inequities. They will infuse existing community efforts with youth voice through the development and execution of multi-media anti-violence content and campaigns.

Stop the Bleed:

Since 2015, the Department of Surgery implemented the Stop the Bleed program engaging URM high school students. “Stop the Bleed” is a nationwide campaign to empower individuals to act quickly and save lives. No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene. A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes. ( On October 6th, 2015, the White House in partnership with the American College of Surgeons Commission on Trauma unveiled its “Stop the Bleed” campaign to empower bystanders to act as immediate responders. Bleeding facts: 1) 35% of pre-hospital deaths result from bleeding, and 2) 80% of mass casualty patients are delivered to medical facilities by non-ambulances ( What does “stop the bleed” teach? Public education focuses on actions to protect lives and stop the loss of life from severe bleeding.  This includes:

  • Measures to ensure personal safety
  • How to identify bleeding as a life threat
  • The use of hands to apply direct pressure
  • Proper use of wound packing
  • Proper use of tourniquets


Opioid Reduction Program Grants:

Jacob Moalem, MD and his team have headed off a pain management initiative funded by a grant awarded through the URMFG Health Care Innovation Award using a multi-pronged approach to reduce opiate use across the community. Based on the initial results in the Department of Surgery, Dr Moalem partnered with the Department of Psychiatry to obtain a $6.7M grant to combat opioid addiction in rural communities.  The goal of the initiative project in Surgery was to minimize excessive narcotic prescriptions, using a data-driven approach to match the amount of narcotic analgesics with post-surgical needs. The approach includes educational efforts to set patient expectations, EHR-directed procedure-specific best practices and post-need disposal of excess opioid medications. In addition, the General Surgery residents have partnered with the New York State Troopers to host an annual Pain Medication “Take-Back Day” at the medical center to minimize the number of unused prescriptions drugs within our community.


Managing pain

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To view video "U of R Surgery Pain Management Overview", click here

URMC Psychiatry Awarded Additional $2.5M to Combat Opioids in Rural Communities

URMC Awarded $6.7M to Combat Opioid Crisis in Rural Communities

URMC to study rural opioid treatments with federal grant

Past Community Engagement

Puerto Rico Relief: 

Dr. Paula Cupertino was in touch with her community outreach and engagement collaborators at the Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico after Category 1 Hurricane Fiona hit.

Ponce HSU has a comprehensive Community Health Worker program to address health disparities in access to care and preventive services.  During the frequent natural disasters, this group leads boots on grounds initiatives in the areas impacted most severely.  These communities suffered from isolation and were without electricity.  With feedback from them, we assembled a list of items that were needed, including solar lanterns, water filtration systems, basic personal hygiene items, children’s clothing, and more. Close to $1,800.00 in supplies was donated to the Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico.

Stop the Violence Easter Dinner:

A free Easter dinner was organized in partnership with Uniting and Healing Through Hope of Monroe county for those who've lost loved ones due to violence. The dinner was held at East High School and also sponsored resources including job training, educational and employment opportunities, and health care for attendees.

2023 Speak Life! Health Equity Conference:

Paula Cupertino, Ph.D. was a panelist at the conference which focused on Latino health as a lens to look at health equity for all people of color in the Finger Lakes. The group discussed the potential of language and other social determinants as being a barrier to health care and equitable health outcomes.

Backpack Collection:

In the fall of 2021, the Department of Surgery was in contact with School 28’s Community Site Coordinator, who shared that many children had no or very low-quality backpacks, and no school supplies. This school features a large bilingual population as well as a population of children with autism. The need for these supplies is great, and the department stepped up and gathered supplies which included over 100 backpacks and supplies including notebooks, folders and pencils valued at more than $5,000.