Michigan launches first trauma recovery center in Flint for victims of violent crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2017
CONTACT: Kristin Ford, 202.570.6441, Kristin@safeandjust.org

Michigan launches first trauma recovery center in Flint for victims of violent crime

FLINT – Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced a $365,927 grant to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich. to establish a trauma recovery center, becoming the third state in the nation to create a network of trauma recovery centers to support victims of violent crime.

The TRC at Hurley Medical Center will operate in partnership with community service organizations to provide comprehensive treatment to crime victims. TRC trauma counselors will provide immediate mental health support and advocacy to hospitalized patients who are the victims of traumatic violent crimes such as gunshot and stab wounds, gang violence, physical attacks, sexual assault, human trafficking, domestic violence, and hate crimes.

“Michigan is showing national leadership in how to help victims heal and stop the cycle of crime. Unaddressed trauma is too often an invisible epidemic,” said Lenore Anderson, President, Alliance for Safety and Justice, which has worked with state partners across the nation to spread the trauma recovery center model. “Trauma recovery centers are a critical source of comprehensive support for crime survivors, addressing emotional trauma after a crime occurs.”

“We are proud to launch Michigan’s first Trauma Recovery Center in partnership with Hurley Medical Center to improve the services available to victims of crime, especially those who may face challenges in accessing services,” said James McCurtis, Manager of Crime Victim Services, MDHHS. “After a violent crime has occurred, this new Trauma Recovery Center will ensure that victims are immediately connected to support services.”

Last year, the Alliance for Safety and Justice released a groundbreaking survey of crime victims which found that victims of crime experience significant challenges in recovery and healing—8 in 10 report experiencing at least one symptom of trauma. The survey found 2 out of 3 victims did not receive help following the incident, and those who did were far more likely to receive it from family and friends than the criminal justice system.

One in four people have been victimized in the past 10 years, but that impact is not evenly felt across the country. The study finds victims of crime are more likely to be low-income, young and people of color; furthermore, people with the lowest levels of education, income and economic status are more likely to experience repeat victimization and serious violent crime.

Trauma recovery centers remove barriers to health and stability, heal communities (including often underserved and traditionally hard-to-reach victims of crime), and interrupt cycles of violence.

“As the region’s premier and leading academic medical center, we are proud to be the only Level I Trauma Center, providing the highest level of care available, in the region comprising Genesee, Lapeer and Shiawassee Counties. Unfortunately, many of the patients that we see each year enter the hospital as a victim of crime. Their needs sometimes extend beyond strict medical care that we excel at providing. As such, having the state’s first Trauma Recovery Center in Michigan, along with deploying the resources and comprehensive care necessary, would help us to expand the already high level of care patients and their loved ones can expect and count on, from Hurley. Victims inside Hurley’s TRC would have the most personalized attention, which goes beyond medical service provision during their time here, as they would have a specialized and dedicated staff member to assist in meeting their varied and individual needs, around the clock” adds Michael Jaggi, DO, FACP, FACEP, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Hurley Medical Center.

In year one of what is planned to be a multi-year initiative, funded by Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, Hurley will hire staff and refine the TRC’s scope of services while solidifying collaborative partnerships with other local service organizations. When fully implemented, Hurley’s TRC will follow and care for victims throughout their hospital stay and post-hospital experience, providing them a familiar face to associate with during a time where they have been uprooted from everything in their lives. The TRC is being developed in collaboration and with the support of national partners including the Alliance for Safety and Justice, UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center, and local partners.

TRC advocates will provide patients with trauma counseling and assistance with any other immediate needs such as food, clothing, and housing. An advocate will also help victims apply for victim compensation and will, if needed, arrange for victims to receive more specialized assistance, such as substance abuse treatment, sexual assault or domestic violence services, legal advocacy, or spiritual guidance. Beyond leaving the hospital, the TRC will assist with services including follow up treatment, counseling, transportation and more.

Michigan’s TRC is modeled on the California TRC network. The UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center reports that 74 percent of their patients showed an improvement in overall mental health. There was also a 65 percent increase in sexual assault survivors who received follow-up treatment and a 56 percent increase in victims returning to employment. MDHHS aims to launch additional TRCs throughout the state in the future.

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