Birmingham officials launch violence intervention program at UAB hospital
Birmingham city leaders and health officials hope a new hospital-based violence intervention program will improve outcomes for survivors of gun violence.
The program, which has been in the works for years, recently launched out of UAB Hospital, offering case management services to young adults being treated for gunshot wounds.
“The goal of this program is to reduce the risk of re-injury of people that have survived a gunshot wound,” said Jefferson County health officer Dr. Mark Wilson during a press conference Wednesday. “The statistics are not good nationally. One study showed that if you follow folks after surviving a gunshot wound, 20% of them will be dead by the end of five years. Over 40% will be re-hospitalized with another violent injury.”
The Offender Alumni Association, a local non-profit that focuses on crime prevention and reentry support, is facilitating the program on the ground.
Team supervisor Carmone Owens said they offer case management services to people and connect them to resources, hoping to address the complex underpinnings of gun violence.
“There’s substance abuse issues. There’s mental health. There’s family engagement. There’s living wage issues. There’s a lot of things that our team comes together to help people put the pieces back together and move forward,” Owens said.
The Jefferson County Department of Health provided a $1.1 million grant to get the program started and has promised long term funding to help sustain the initiative. The city of Birmingham has also committed $2.1 million to support the program during years two and three.
The program is open to patients at UAB Hospital who live in Jefferson County and are between 19-39 years old. Officials said the initiative is already underway, with seven participants so far.