BUFFALO — Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation today announced receipt of a $496,959 federal grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) through the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The grant was one of three awarded nationally to hospital-based violence response programs.

As outlined in the grant award communication, “The goal for the project is to strengthen the link between ECMC’s Buffalo Rising Against Violence at ECMC (BRAVE) hospital-based violent crime response program with New York State’s community-based violence response program, SNUG. Specifically, the proposed project seeks to build and expand on work started by previous funding that sought to improve the process and data collection of SNUG. Through the project, the link between BRAVE and SNUG will be strengthened by (1) creating a hybrid position to serve as a liaison between the two programs, (2) training medical staff in victim-centered, trauma-informed, culturally relevant approaches that increase the likelihood of the uptake of services among victims of violence, and (3) improving documentation methods. The proposed project fills a critical gap by (1) exploring the link between hospital-based services and community-based violence intervention programs, (2) exploring the impact of training on the level of uptake of services among victims of violence, and (3) the effect of training on improved documentation and data quality.”

The two-year project will support a collaboration between Western New York’s only two trauma centers, Erie County Medical Center (adult trauma services) and Oishei Children’s Hospital (child trauma services) with support from the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “This community knows ECMC for the top notch care it provides as a trauma center, and Children’s Hospital for the critical expertise it has in caring for our youngest patients and mothers, but for victims of violence the wounds run deep.  This nearly half million-dollar federal grant will support the work of these trusted caregivers to expand efforts to go beneath the surface to help identify and address underlying causes of violent crime.  We were proud to support this application and are grateful to the Department of Justice Office for Violent Crime for this award to Buffalo. This collaborative effort between BRAVE and SNUG will serve as a valuable tool in breaking the cycle of violence and healing our community.”

Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “I am pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice provided this grant to ECMC to continue in our fight against violent crime in our community. By giving ECMC the ability to grow its staff to expand the collaboration between BRAVE, SNUG and Peacemakers, we will be able to better understand and support the best practices for violence intervention. As our city continues to heal, I applaud the federal government for stepping up and helping our most trusted community partners do the critical work that will help save lives.”

Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, President and CEO, Erie County Medical Center said, “As Western New York’s safety net hospital, ECMC is dedicated to providing care for victims of violent crime, so that they can heal from the physical and mental trauma they have suffered and begin to put their lives back together.  We know that is a very challenging and difficult process; however, from care in our Emergency Department, Rehab and Behavioral Health to our anti-violence initiatives like BRAVE and SNUG, our caregivers are committed to helping violent crime victims recover and rebuild their lives. We are very thankful to receive the Office for Victims of Crime grant that will support strengthening further the hospital-based and community-based violence response programs that are so important to ECMC, our partners at Oishei Children’s Hospital, the University at Buffalo and, of course, our community.”

Paula Kovanic Spiro, MPH, LMSW, Director, BRAVE and SNUG, Site Administrator said, “Hospital and community-based violence intervention programs have grown around the country in response to the staggering increase in gun violence. When implemented correctly, these programs can lead to significant reductions in trauma to individuals, families, and communities. Yet current research into program effectiveness and client engagement is lacking. We are grateful to OVC for this opportunity to examine BRAVE and SNUG and create a victim response program that is truly powerful.”



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