Christiana Care employees partnered with Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams and his administration to officially announce the launch in Wilmington of Cease Violence, a nationally-recognized program that takes a public health approach to prevent gun violence.
The program engages communities and individuals to change behavior and choose nonviolent solutions to resolve conflict.
Raymond Seigfried, senior vice president of Administration, Clinical and Materiel Operations, who chaired the Cease Violence Task Force, said Christiana Care is involved in the program “because it is the right thing to do and because of our strong commitment to our neighbors in the city of Wilmington.”
“At Christiana Care, our promise is to improve the health and quality of life of the neighbors we are privileged to serve,” he said.
The program employs individuals who are known and respected in their community. These individuals, known as “violence interrupters,” build relationships with people who live in neighborhoods that are hotspots for violence, and they teach how to intervene and prevent violence among people in that community.
One of those violence interrupters, Keith Pettiford, also will visit with victims of gun violence in the hospital as well as in their community to encourage them and their families to avoid retaliation. Evaluations have shown the successful impact of the Cease Violence model in reducing shootings, violent confrontations and killings in multiple cities throughout the United States.
The majority of gun violence victims in the city of Wilmington and the state of Delaware are treated at Christiana Hospital, noted Sandra Medinilla, M.D., trauma surgeon and medical director of violence prevention at Christiana Care. Christiana Hospital sees more than 4,000 patients per year and is the only Level I trauma center that treats both adults and children between Baltimore and Philadelphia.
“This program interrupts the violence before it starts so we can create a safer and healthier community for the neighbors we serve,” Dr. Medinilla said. “We are very grateful to be part of this program.”
To support the program, Christiana Care has hired a coordinator, Chaz Molins, LCSW, to support the interrupters and help shooting victims and their families get the resources they need to escape a life of violence.
Other partners in the Cease Violence program include the HOPE Commission, the University of Delaware, the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services and Downtown Visions, the management company for the Wilmington Downtown Business Improvement District.
To learn more about the national model on which Cease Violence is based, visit www.CureViolence.org.