Last updated on June 18th, 2019 at 10:42 am
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Ascension Wisconsin will partner with the City of Milwaukee on a new program to prevent gun violence, the organizations announced this week.
The initiative, which is part of the city’s 414LIFE effort, is designed to take a public health approach to interrupting the cycle of retaliatory violence in Milwaukee.
Through the program, a site director and team of 10 individuals from within the community, known as “violence interrupters,” will engage in prevention-based outreach and targeted conflict mediation in specific neighborhoods. The team will be trained to support families, friends, and survivors of gun violence in local hospitals and in the community, with the goal of starting the support and mediation process as early as possible.
Uniting Garden Homes Inc. is also working with the city and partnering hospitals on the program.
The program is modeled after Cure Violence, a prevention effort based in Chicago that has been implemented in multiple cities.
Private donors and foundations, including Bader Philanthropies, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Live Free and Google, are backing the program.
The violence interrupters have completed more than 50 hours of training with Cure Violence, Uniting Garden Homes and the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, and have completed more than 25 mediations.
The team will soon complete a volunteer orientation at Froedtert Hospital and the trauma department.
“As eastern Wisconsin’s only adult Level I Trauma Center, we are proud to join a network of health care providers in collaboration with the Milwaukee Health Department and the community to help improve the health and well-being of all residents of metro Milwaukee,” said Eric Conley, chief operating officer of Froedtert Hospital. “The 414LIFE program aligns with our long-standing commitment to reducing gun-related violence through research, clinical care and collaboration on violence and injury prevention.”
Bernie Sherry, ministry market executive of Ascension Wisconsin, pointed to Ascension St. Joseph Hospital’s history as an “anchor institution” in the Sherman Park and West Burleigh Street neighborhoods.
“Health care has done a good job at prioritizing heart disease, cancer prevention and other treatable or preventable diseases that take precious lives too soon,” Sherry said. “As a community, we must acknowledge violence in much the same way – as a preventable and treatable disease and commit to working together through programs like 414LIFE to create meaningful change.”
Moving forward, the city’s Office of Violence Prevention expects to partner with all hospital systems serving victims from the Milwaukee area.