Department of Public Affairs -- 8900 Van Wyck Expressway Jamaica, New York 11418
For Immediate Release
Name: Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
Jamaica Hospital Signs M.O.U. With Members of The NYC Crisis Management System King of Kings, Life Camp, Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services- Rock Safe Streets To Address Gun Violence Epidemic In Our Community
The gun violence epidemic continues to grip our nation and communities. The need to address this issue has only become more urgent after the recent, heartless acts of violence that occurred in Buffalo New York, and Uvalde Texas.
Locally, this urgency is resounding as the number of gun violence victims continues to climb at an alarming rate. Gun violence has increased by 188% in the five boroughs and more specifically 190% in Queens from 2019 to 2020. These numbers are indicative of an imminent health crisis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearm violence is a serious public health problem. About 124 people in the U.S. die each day from firearm-related injuries. Gun violence also affects the mental health of patients, their loved ones, and healthcare providers. Studies also show that residents living in neighborhoods with high rates of gun violence are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders and other mental health illnesses.
To address this public health crisis, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is making meaningful change by collaborating with local members of the NYC Crisis Management System King of Kings, Life Camp, and Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services- Rock Safe Streets as part of its commitment to end gun violence in our community. The collaboration between the hospital and the organizations will be made official at a formal signing ceremony on June 13th, during Gun Violence Awareness Month. Elected official Congressman Gregory Meeks, a staunch advocate for gun violence prevention, will also join Jamaica Hospital in commemorating the special occasion. Additional elected officials attending the event include Queens District Attorney, Melinda Katz; Queens Borough President, Donovan Richards, and New York State Senator,Leroy Comrie.
The objective of the landmark agreement is for all involved to work together to prevent violence and assist in protecting the health of patients and community members.
In the scope of the agreement, Jamaica Hospital will designate employees who will support the provision of anti-violence and violence interruption services by responding to referrals of traumas associated with gun violence. These designated employees will also assist in coordinating the visitation of Responders (individuals appointed by Cure Violence groups) with patients and loved ones, with their consent and as authorized by the law.
Responders’ duties include conducting follow-up visits during the inpatient stay with identified hospital patients, upon a determination by Jamaica Hospital that the patient is stable. Responders will provide supportive services such as mediation, conflict resolution, and service referrals to assist in the prevention of re-injury to these patients or to prevent retaliation connected to gun violence incidents.
Additionally, Jamaica Hospital and Responders will work together to provide coordinated care and integrative support to victims of gun violence.
“This agreement is an important step in the right direction to address the crisis of gun violence in our community. As a hospital that operates the busiest Level 1 Trauma Center in the city and cares for a disproportionally large number of gun violence patients, we know firsthand the impact and ripple effects it causes to victims, their loved ones, and communities,” stated Bruce J. Flanz, Jamaica Hospital President and CEO. “We are proud to be working with King of Kings, Life Camp Inc., and the Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services- Rock Safe Streets program as we recognize the important roles they play in helping end gun violence in our community.”
At Jamaica Hospital, the rise in gun violence became evident in 2020 after the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic; the number of patients treated for gun violence-related incidents increased by 223% between 2019 and 2020. This dramatic spike prompted the hospital’s Trauma Division to create the Violence Elimination and Trauma Outreach (VETO) program.
“Observing the rise in gun violence in our community, the Trauma Division launched VETO, a hospital-based violence intervention program, in the spring of 2021. The VETO program works to identify victims of gun violence and provide comprehensive coordinated and integrative care to survivors. We are confident that our partnership with King of Kings, Life Camp, and the Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services- Rock Safe Streets program will expand on the outreach work being done in our community to address gun violence, a growing public health crisis,” shared Dr. Katherine McKenzie, Jamaica Hospital Trauma Medical Director.