BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham health and medical experts are partnering to launch a hospital-based violence intervention program. They share a hope for making a positive impact on those who fall victim to gun violence.
Jefferson County Public Health Officer, Dr. Mark Wilson, says UAB’s trauma center is seeing over 1,000 gunshot wounds yearly.
He says the violence intervention program will be used to help victims who want a way out of violent environments. Help may be provided through counseling, relocation, job training or financial assistance- all to help change the trajectory of survivors’ lives.
“Our hope is that we can help to reverse some of that cultural violence that we see and the trauma that it’s having on the overall community which unfortunately can lead to more violence,” said Wilson.
The Offender Alumni Association has been designated to hire violence interventionists that will work with shooting victims before discharge from the hospital.
The program will start small with just three interventionists leading the way, but Wilson says he has hope this program will expand its impact over time.
“We are not going to be able to engage with the majority of people that have been victims of a violent crime, but again, this is a starting point- something we hope can be expanded over time, but it has to start fairly small to make sure we get it right.”
Data will be collected over time in order to gauge the success of the program, but for now, Wilson says they are focused on changing lives within our community, one shooting victim at a time.
“Any life that we impact and turn around and help them get on a better course and help them stay safe-that is a success story, and that is worth it.”
Wilson says the violence intervention program is expected to officially begin in December of 2022 or January of 2023.