All too often in our city, we hear news about young African American men and women caught in the deadly web of gun violence. Recent statistics reveal that a huge percentage of these crimes are being acted out by teenagers who are younger and younger. Their victims? Other young teens. In the last three months, Howard University Hospital’s (HUH) Level I Trauma Center has seen an uptick of teenage gun violence victims come through its doors. The spike in crime cannot be pinpointed to one single issue but a myriad of socioeconomic factors that has left a stranglehold on poor and underserved communities across the DMV.
The HUH Trauma Team has answered the call with a number of programs that provide access and resources to help educate young adults on the negative psychological, physical and social impact that violence causes in the community. One such program, features the 2018, Freshman class at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C. The Trauma Team adopted this class four years ago, providing students with unlimited access to physicians, nurses, social workers, and intervention specialists for mentorship, workshops, mock traumas and conflict resolution activities. The goal was to create a conducive support system to help students see viable alternatives to violence as they navigate the challenges of their community.
On Tuesday, November 15, 55 graduating seniors from Thurgood Marshall celebrated the success of the program at a premier of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at Magic Johnson Theater in Largo, Md. The students were greeted by Adventist HealthCare CEO Terry Ford; HUH Chief Executive Officer, Anita L.A. Jenkins; HUH Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. India Medley; HUH Vice President of Operations, Blain Gentry; Dr. Mallory Williams, Chief Division of Trauma and Critical Care; Dr. Edward E. Cornwell III, The LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., Professor of Surgery for the Howard University College of Medicine; Dr. Terrence Fullum, Chief, Division of General Surgery & Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery; Jacqueline P. Jenifer, Administrative Director, HU Department of Surgery & Outcomes Research; Trauma Program Director, Kenyatta Hazlewood and staff members from the HUH Trauma Team.
Dr. Williams and CEO Jenkins spoke to local news outlets NBC4 and WUSA9 about the importance of organizations like HUH, who have the ability to positively impact the lives of students through outreach and the creation of sustainable programs.