MUSC program aims to tackle community violence and prevention

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 11:16 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Medical University of South Carolina will soon be the first in the state to use its trauma center to find ways to prevent violence in the community.

By the end of June, MUSC expects its new Hospital Based Violence Intervention Program to work with its first patients, and the program will start with a focus on teens and young adults who come into the hospital with violent injuries like gunshot wounds.

“It’s critical that we do something to help provide evidence-based services and interventions to help do something about this because people in our community are suffering and dying,” MUSC Dr. Ashley Hink said. “Violence is one of the leading causes of death for children and young adults, and that’s just a fact.”

The program’s team will be available around the clock to meet with patients and find ways to get them the help they need when they enter the hospital and after they leave its care.

“We work with them to get to know them, form relationships with them, and identify what it is in their life that has potentially put them at risk,” Hink said.

This includes connecting patients to mental healthcare, employment opportunities, and other resources in the community.

“You can’t have just the criminal justice system, or any one system help fix this. You have to address issues related to community, education, employment, healthcare and really get to the underlying risks,” Hink said. “We are too late when someone has really experienced an injury that ends their life, so how can we intervene early?”

Some community leaders hope this program will make all the difference.

“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem…there’s no way the police can do it by themselves. We have to work together,” Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said. “We have to do better, and I’ll tell you, for me, if we save one life it’s worth it.”

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