Philadelphia becomes leader in treating victims of violence
February 9, 2012By Carolyn Beeler
The National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs has moved its headquarters to Philadelphia.
The organization, which started in Oakland, Calif., three years ago, represents 19 different programs that seek to help victims of violence heal their psychological wounds and avoid violence in the future.
Dr. Theodore Corbin, an emergency room physician at Hahnemann University Hospital and co-director of the national organization, said Philadelphia has become known as a resource on the topic.
"The rich expertise and experience in the field of violence prevention and intervention as well as trauma is why we were selected to be the national headquarters,” Corbin said.
Two hospitals in Philadelphia and one in Camden have full-fledged programs, which help match victims up with psychological services, group therapy, job-readiness training and legal help.
Corbin said he hopes the move will encourage all seven level-one trauma centers in the city to adopt programs. He believes treating victims for post-traumatic stress disorder and providing them with social services, if they elect to be involved, would cut down on retaliatory attacks.
"I do, in fact, think that will have an impact in violence in the city,” Corbin said.
The organization is planning a national conference in Philadelphia this fall.
Meanwhile, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is launching its own violence- intervention program for kids.
Emergency room physician Dr. Joel Fein, another co-director of the national group, said it is closely modeled on the program Corbin runs at Hahnemann and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
Fein said the goals are twofold.
"One is to improve the overall approach to violently injured patients in a hospital and health-care system so they're not re-traumatized,” Fein said. “And then, most importantly, it's to make an impact in the lives of the patients so they can live a healthier and more productive life."
The pilot program started two weeks ago, but Fein said case managers will likely continue to visit kids at home for six months to a year after their injury.