NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission announced $750,000 in funding to expand hospital-based violence prevention and intervention programs in North Carolina.
Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center was awarded $500,000 to support its regional hospital-based violence intervention project and expand its use across its footprint.
On Wednesday, the NC Department of Public Safety, NC Governor’s Crime Commission and the NC Department of Health and Human Services visited Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center to learn about its Wilmington Hospital Violence Prevention Program and held a roundtable discussion about state and community strategies that are working to reduce violence. This collaboration is part of a statewide effort to keep families and communities safe from violence-related injuries and deaths.
Jeff Lindsay, the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Novant Health, says their violence interruption specialist makes a one-on-one connection with people that come into the hospital that have been impacted by violence.
“That gives them a voice that in many cases they didn’t have. It connects them with resources that they can use in our community to make their lives and the lives of their family better. That one on one connection is what makes all the difference for us,” Lindsay said.
During the visit, state and local leaders learned more about ways Novant Health will also expand the program to include Charlotte with the Governor’s Crime Commission funding. The hospital program is part of a community-based violence interruption strategy that includes Wilmington’s Port City United which uses a Cure Violence Global model to provide mediation and mentorship in New Hanover County Schools within the community.
Gerard Tate, the executive director of the state Office of Violence Prevention, says collaboration is key when it comes to addressing a multi-faceted issue like gun violence, especially with local organizations.
“Typically the people that are closest to the problem are closest to the solution and they are doing that work each and every day with the community members that they typically live near and around,” Tate said.
Following the tour, a roundtable discussion included additional community partners and discussed ways the state and local partners can continue to collaborate to address violence in our communities.
Some additional key efforts in North Carolina to address community violence include:
- Expected receipt of federal funding through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to support more community-based violence prevention and interruption programs similar to Port City United.
- Launch of NC S.A.F.E and distribution of gun locks and safes to community organizations and local health departments.
- Prioritization by the Governor’s Crime Commission Victims of Crime Act dollars to fund hospital violence prevention programs like those that support Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s program.
- Creation of the Governor’s Office of Violence Prevention through an Executive Order signed in early 2023.
This work follows the white paper released by NCDHHS in November 2022 that provides a framework for how to address violence and its causes as public health issues and the July North Carolina Medical Journal which was devoted to the issue.