Hospital-based violence interruption program receives national recognition

Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance outreach worker Maryum Patterson talks to a victim.

A hospital-based violence interruption program operating in two Cleveland area hospitals has been accepted as a member of the national network formed to combat the trauma from retaliation.

The Northern Ohio Trauma System Violence Prevention Program has been accepted into the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs. The NNHVIP network strives “to stop the revolving door of violent injury” by de-escalating volatile situations in hospitals throughout the U.S.

The local, hospital-based initiative is one of only 38 in the country in this network. At Cleveland’s MetroHealth System and University Hospitals, the work is led by Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, a community-based organization committed to stemming the tide of violent retaliatory actions.

“This is a major step forward,” said Andrea Martemus-Peters, Violence Injury Prevention Coordinator for the Northern Ohio Trauma System. “The opportunity to learn best practices from other programs in the network will help continue to build on our current programming and will enable us to work with others to promote the importance of violence prevention. Additionally, we will have an opportunity to communicate directly with staff that have done research on this pressing social issue.”

Programs in the national network share knowledge, develop best practices, collaborate on research and affect policy change.

 “The work that our staff is leading, side by side with the hospital trauma care teams, has proven to be a real game-changer,” Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance Board Chair Kevin Griffin said. “We are able to meet young people and their families in the safe environment of a hospital where, together with our hospital partners, we can provide for their physical care and connect with these young people to help provide wraparound services at a real moment of crisis. The hospital-based programs allow our team to build relationships with young people at the moment of truth.”  

Peacemakers Alliance Director Sharyna Cloud said, “Our organization has worked diligently outside the trauma centers to develop the relationships that can change lives during times of crisis. The shared experiences, the uncomfortable encounters, and the familiarity with our young people and their families allow us to take advantage of that ‘golden moment’ – the moment in time at the hospital when we can help the young people see clearly their next couple of steps.”

There is evidence that hospital-based violence interruption programs work and are cost-effective.

A study done by the University of California San Francisco showed the cost of surgery for a single gunshot wound victim is approximately the same as the annual cost of the average hospital-based violence interruption program. This means the hospital-based program is effectively cost neutral if it prevents just one injury and becomes a cost savings for every injury prevented thereafter.

About NOTS

Established in 2010, NOTS was founded to serve the residents of Northern Ohio by improving the care of patients with traumatic injuries. NOTS has 10 working committees, which have developed and matured into collaborative and productive groups. NOTS committee members work to implement protocols, develop quality-related action plans, institute guidelines, increase trauma education and collectively work to improve trauma patient outcomes.

About Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance

Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance is an independent, neighborhood-based organization working to prevent violence and keep young people out of gangs. Peacemakers Alliance employs outreach workers – including some former gang members – who are credible messengers. In addition to its hospital-based intervention program, the organization provides violence-interruption and outreach services in the community and works with young people who are already involved in the court system. Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, based at East Tech High School, is a subsidiary of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, which includes Clubs in Cleveland, Akron, Lorain County and Erie County.