Guns Down, Life Up at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

Dr. Robert Gore discusses the success of the KAVI program at the Guns Down, Life Up Planning Summit in June 2014. 
The Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) is a youth violence intervention, prevention, and empowerment program based at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County in Brooklyn. KAVI plays an integral role in helping to decrease the level of violence among youth seen in Kings County's emergency departments, other Brooklyn hospitals, neighborhood schools, and local communities. 

Founded in 2009, KAVI views violence as a disease similar to diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease. Doctors diagnose the pathology, determine the appropriate intervention, measure the outcomes, and work on prevention. KAVI uses youth empowerment as a method to improve lives of young people, in particular as it relates to violence. KAVI's goals are to decrease the incidence of violence in Brooklyn and its surrounding communities, and to empower those who have survived violence. The organization's work helps to empower: the community to help decrease violence; students to decrease interpersonal violence in our schools; and patients and families to lower recidivism associated with recurrent violent injuries in our hospital.

KAVI's objectives are to:
  • Decrease recurrent violent injury
  • Decrease retaliatory violence
  • Decrease truancy
  • Improve academic performance (academic assistance/tutoring/GED)
  • Increase youth participation in extracurricular activities
  • Improve surveillance to identify youth victims of violence as well as those at risk for violent injury
To meet these objectives, KAVI:
  • Works with established community-based violence intervention organizations and educational institutions (Wingate High School and New Visions Academy)
  • Provides crisis intervention to victims, families, and the community
  • Provides healthy positive role models
  • Directly provides or links youth to extracurricular activities 
Our two main community partners that are integral to our multi-disciplinary approach are Man Up and S.O.S. (Save Our Streets) Crown Heights. These organizations have been providing violence intervention services in the community for several years and operate under the CureViolence model.  

KAVI-CureViolence intervention teams work with NYC Health + Hospitals /Kings County and respond to the interpersonal violent injuries presenting to the Emergency Department/Department of Trauma. The teams provide:
  • Counseling services to ensure retaliation is prevented
  • Patient and family support immediately after a violent incident occurs
  • Social service follow up
  • Linkage to hospital and community behavioral health resources
NYC Health + Hospitals /Kings County is the only pediatric Level One trauma center in Brooklyn and one of only three adult Level One trauma centers in the borough. Due to the large catchment area the hospital serves, it is helpful to have three like-minded organizations working together to prevent violence.

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