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July 2015 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 20% of youth treated in a hospital with an injury due to violence will return with another violent injury within the following year. The Emergency Department Violence Intervention Program is a pilot project, started in November 2013, to assess the feasibility and efficacy of providing a hospital-based violence intervention program that offers wraparound care to youths both in the hospital and in the community for approximately one year starting at the time of the initial injury. It is located in Winnipeg, a midsized city with one of the highest homicide rates in Canada. This month’s E-News Exclusive describes this innovative project that approaches injury due to youth violence as chronic health condition requiring follow-up care in much the way that heart disease, stroke, or emphysema requires follow-up care.

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Youth Violence as a Chronic Health Condition
By Heather Tiede, MA

Tyler has been in and out of child protective services for most of his 19 years. His mother is alcohol dependent and he’s never met his biological father. At age 12, Tyler began running away from foster and group homes and by the time he was 16, he was living on the street. With no money and nowhere to live, he initially turned to petty crimes to feed himself and his growing addiction to methamphetamine. During a night of binge drinking, Tyler and some of his buddies got involved in a fight at a house party that resulted in him getting stabbed in the abdomen. Unwilling to call an ambulance, he walked the three blocks to the nearest hospital. Tyler received seven stitches before being discharged later that morning.

Sadly, Tyler’s story is all too common, according to Heather Woodward, RSW, a registered social worker who has been working frontline with high-risk youths and their families for more than 15 years. In fact, in both the United States and in Canada, intentional injury is one of the primary reasons young people aged 12 to 24 visit an emergency department, and is one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death among males aged 20 to 24 (Cunningham, Knox, Fein, Harrison, Frisch, Walton, et al., 2009). She notes a growing trend for professionals in the fields of health care and social services to recognize injury due to violence as a chronic health condition.

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