HomeColumbiaColumbia hospital awarded DOJ grant for violence intervention program

Columbia hospital awarded DOJ grant for violence intervention program

Columbia, South Carolina – The Prisma Health Richland Hospital Trauma Center has been awarded a substantial grant of $2,000,000 from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). This funding is directed towards a new initiative titled “Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Community Violence Through a Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program” based in Columbia, South Carolina. The grant, which is part of a larger DOJ effort that has distributed over 3,700 grants nationwide to enhance community safety, will support this project until September 30, 2026.

This grant will be used to develop and implement a hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP) at the Prisma Health Richland Hospital, which is a Level 1 Trauma Center certified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The program will be created in partnership with local community organizations, and a community advisory group will be significantly involved in both the planning and development stages of the initiative.

The primary goals of the innovative program are:

  • Reduce community violence and the rate of repeated violent criminal behaviors,
  • Address individual risk and protective factors for violence, and,
  • Utilize and contribute research related to the program and its impact.

The Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program (HVIP) at Prisma Health Richland Hospital will focus on helping high-risk teenagers and young adults from underserved, marginalized communities with high crime rates in the Midlands area. This initiative specifically targets those who have been treated at the trauma center for violence-related injuries, such as gunshot wounds, stabbings, or assaults. HVIPs use a proven approach with credible, trusted individuals who deliver intensive case management and comprehensive support services to victims of such injuries.

The team responsible for this grant in Columbia includes specialists from Prisma Health in trauma, internal medicine, psychiatry, and injury prevention. They are collaborating with researchers from the University of South Carolina (USC) who have expertise in psychology, public health, criminology, and criminal justice. This interdisciplinary group aims to effectively implement and manage the HVIP.

Read also: Prisma Health Midlands Foundation launches $2 million campaign for advanced wound care center

“Caring for our patients and community extends beyond the walls of our hospitals. At Richland Hospital’s trauma center, our dedicated clinicians confront the reality of patients with violence-related injuries on nearly a daily basis. As we treat their physical wounds, survivors are often open to interventions to break the cycle of violence,” said Prisma Health trauma surgeon Lindsey Dunkelberger, MD.

Dunkelberger added, “With this funding, Prisma Health will provide program participants with direct assistance and link them to community-based resources to improve their quality of life.”

Dunkelberger is the principal investigator for the grant program and an assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia. She is joined by co-principal investigator and USC psychology professor Meeta Banerjee, PhD. The project team includes Prisma Health team members Lara Peck, MPH; Kenishia Golden-Smith, DHA; Rachel Houchins, MD; Angela Jenkins, MPPA; Poornema Ramasamy, MD and USC faculty researchers Deborah L Billings, PhD; Kait Boyle, PhD; and Wendy C. Regoeczi, PhD.

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