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Meetings with trauma victims offered by a violence prevention program



Indianapolis, Indiana – Prescription for Hope is a violence prevention program that was established in 2009, and Dr. Damaris Ortiz just assumed leadership of it.

Having personally witnessed the effects that horrific events had on victims and their families, Ortiz offered several recommendations for improving the program’s efficacy.

“I trained at a very high volume trauma center on the southside of Chicago, busy Level 1 trauma center in Houston, and now I’m here,” Ortiz said. “It’s a lot busier than I expected it to be.”

Patients receiving treatment at Eskenazi for gunshot wounds, stabbings, or other traumatic injuries can meet with a team member as part of the Prescription for Hope program, who can connect them with resources to help end the cycle of violence.

“We found that the people who went through the program had about a 50% decrease risk of coming back in two years to any hospital with a violent injury,” said Ortiz.

Prescription for Hope is not a one-size-fits-all program, Dr. Ortiz warns. To help direct interventions, its counselors make a greater effort to listen to their patients.

“There were a few barriers that were identified, lack of trust of the health care system provider, and they generally prefer utilizing their established social circle, their family and friends,” said Ortiz.

According to Dr. Ortiz, funding mental health services won’t stop gun violence unless the therapy is successful. She advises healthcare professionals to think creatively and consider offering services via telehealth when it would be more convenient for the patient.

Although it can only be accessed through Eskenazi Health, other institutions can send patients to the Prescription for Hope program.

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