For Immediate Release - May 23, 2007

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH PROVIDES $600,000 IN ANTI-CRIME FUNDING FOR HOSPITALS

BOSTON - Thursday, May 31, 2007 - As part of the Patrick administration's anti-crime efforts, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today that it has awarded $600,000 in grants to six hospitals across the state that care for the largest number of gunshot and stabbing victims.

Governor Deval Patrick, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, DPH Commissioner John Auerbach, Secretary of Public Safety Kevin Burke and anti-crime advocates announced the initiative before a meeting of the Governor's Anti-Crime Council at the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester.

The new DPH funding will support staff training programs and enable hospitals to hire Violence Intervention Advocates to work in their emergency rooms during key hours. These advocates will provide early outreach to victims of violence and provide services designed to prevent further acts of violence. DPH offers similar intervention models for suicide attempts, sexual assault and domestic violence.

In announcing the initiative, Governor Patrick said, "Addressing violent crime requires a comprehensive approach that includes early intervention and prevention. This Department of Public Health initiative is an important step in ensuring that individuals and families feel safe on our streets."

Secretary Bigby added, "Victims of violence suffer from problems like post-traumatic stress disorder and are far more likely to be re-injured due to a violent act. By adding this kind of intervention to their medical treatment, we can identify effective ways to break the cycle of violence that affects too many of our communities."

"Good public health is about prevention," said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach. "The Department of Public Health is committed to partnering with hospitals across the state to establish meaningful intervention strategies that address the causes of violence-not just the effects."

The six hospitals that will receive DPH's anti-crime funding are: UMass Memorial Hospital (Worcester); Lawrence General Hospital (Lawrence); Bay State Medical Center (Springfield); Brockton Hospital (Brockton); St. Luke's Hospital (New Bedford); and Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston).

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