Drexel’s Healing Hurt People received an award from the National Office for Victims of Crime on April 7 for its work toward making victims of violent crime less likely to be injured again.
Dr. Ted Corbin, associate professor in Drexel’s College of Medicine and Dornsife School of Public Health, and Dr. John Rich professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health received the Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services. Dr. Corbin serves as the medical director of Healing Hurt People and Dr. Rich is the director of Drexel’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, which houses the program.
“When we see the improvement of the lives of the young people that we work with, that’s our reward,” Dr. Corbin said.
Dr. Corbin accepted the award on behalf of the program. It was established to “recognize a program, organization, or individual who has helped to expand the reach of victims’ rights and services,” according to the Office for Victims of Crime, which is housed in the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Justice. The award is given out annually in a ceremony in Washington, DC, during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Re-injury — and retaliation for an injury — after a person suffers violence is a particular problem when it comes to some areas that routinely experience cyclical violence. Healing Hurt People takes an interdisciplinary intervention approach to those who have suffered a traumatic, violent injury.
“The program is designed to engage a young person at the time of their injury when we know they’re at the greatest risk for re-injury and retaliation but, most especially, the symptoms of trauma,” Dr. Rich said.
Healing Hurt People began at Hahnemann University Hospital in 2007 and has since expanded to five different hospitals across Philadelphia as well as Chicago and Portland, Oregon. In that time, more than 1,800 young people have been served through the program.
Members of the Healing Hurt People team seek out people between the ages of eight and 30 who come into emergency departments with traumatic injuries. This is a time described as “the golden hour,” in which victims make their decision of whether they want to change their life to avoid similar injuries — or death — in the future or to retaliate, unwittingly contributing to the violent cycle that likely brought them there.
“The impact of Healing Hurt People has changed the conversation about violence among young people in health settings,” Dr. Rich added.