Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $500,000)
Daily pervasive violence affects many urban centers across the country, including St. Louis. In 2020, St. Louis recorded its worst homicide rate since 1970. St. Louis homicide rates rival global figures in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Victims of violence in the St. Louis region are primarily seen at four Level 1 trauma and emergency centers in the City of St. Louis within a two and a half mile radius (Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospitals). Hospitals are well positioned to interrupt the cycle of violence by intervening at a uniquely teachable moment when individuals have survived a violent injury. We have partnered with the four hospitals named above, which represent two health systems, and with two universities to develop the St. Louis Area Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program, known locally as Life Outside of Violence (LOV). Our mission is to promote positive alternatives among individuals injured by violence in order to reduce retaliation, criminal involvement, re-injury, and death. Participants are matched with trained professional program mentors (clinical social workers) who deliver evidence-based interventions such as brief intervention, trauma-informed treatment, case management, and faith-based intervention. Training, resource sharing, and communication is be coordinated across the four aforementioned hospital sites by one central entity (i.e., the Institute for Public Health at Washington University). We also have a repository of shared regional data and evaluate our primary objective, the reduction of recidivism for interpersonal violent injury, at the regional level. This has not been done before through other HVIPs. Our program has shown a significant positive return on investment on many levels for the individual hospitals involved, and most importantly for the St. Louis region. With funding from OVC, we propose to continue this program in the City of St. Louis, MO and St. Louis County, MO, and expand it to East St. Louis, IL. Our primary deliverable is to reduce recidivism and risk factors for violence while increasing protective factors against violence.