Violence Intervention Program
Violence is the leading cause of death for young adults in Baltimore and is a widely recognized public health concern.
Dr. Carnell Cooper started the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) in 1998 after seeing victims of traumatic violent injury being treated, released, and readmitted months later due to another, often more serious, violent injury.
Dr. Cooper recognized that this "revolving door phenomenon" occurred repeatedly, with patients being discharged without any form of counseling or intervention to the same streets where they had sustained their injuries. Seeing this caused Dr. Cooper to ask a simple scientific question: "How can we reduce the number of repeat victims of intentional violent injury coming through the doors of Shock Trauma every day?"
To answer this question, Dr. Cooper, Dr. Paul Stolley, and other colleagues completed a comprehensive case-control study (Archives of Surgery, Vol. 135, No. 7, July 2000) that identified the risk factors for repeat victims of violence. The study identified the following risk factors:
- African-American male
- Median age 31
- No health insurance
- Income less than $10,000 yearly
- Current drug user
- Past or present drug dealer
- Positive test for psychoactive substances upon admission
Additionally, eighty-six percent (86%) of the victims felt that disrespect was involved with their injury, and a majority of the victims had a history of involvement with the criminal justice system. This comprehensive data analysis provided the basis for the evidence-based Violence Intervention Program (VIP) model.
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