Over the past year, physicians and other experts from the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin adult Level I Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin Comprehensive Injury Center have worked with city leaders, Ascension Health and the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention to create a medical partnership for the city’s 414LIFE initiative. This new hospital-based partnership augments the 414LIFE program, which uses a public health approach to stop the spread of violence.
The Froedtert & MCW hospital-based violence interruption program is helping save lives by taking steps to interrupt the cycle of violence. Interventions that start early in the hospital setting have the potential to change behavior patterns such as using gun violence to settle disputes or seek retribution. Since Froedtert Hospital’s Trauma Center began the program in May 2019, it has seen 384 referrals. The majority of participants were within the age range of 15-35 with a concentration seen among those aged 21-25. Eighty-three percent were male and the majority of those referred to the program had injury events that occurred in the city neighborhoods where violence is occurring the most, suggesting that the program is reaching the intended neighborhoods.
Combining the efforts of eastern Wisconsin’s only adult Level I Trauma Center, public health, emergency departments and communities in a coordinated partnership can lead to safer, healthier communities. Going beyond immediate violence intervention, this critical partnership helps address issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues and substance abuse that can contribute to health disparities. This partnership connects those affected by gun violence with critical resources and a path to appropriate follow-up health care, with a new clinic now launching to provide integrated healthcare by a team that addresses the biopsychosocial issues after gun violence injury.
414LIFE is modeled after Cure Violence, a successful violence interruption effort which is based in Chicago and implemented in multiple cities around the world. 414LIFE focuses on reducing the burden that gun violence places on individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities in Milwaukee County by treating gun violence as a disease. A key element to the success of the 414LIFE program is engaging community members as “violence interrupters” in neighborhoods across Milwaukee County and in the hospital setting. 414LIFE incorporates dedicated, credible violence interrupters who have received 65+ hours of training in outreach communication, conflict resolution, and hospital processes and policies.