AtlantiCare gets $2M grant to develop a violence intervention program

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center announced on Thursday it has received a $2 million grant to develop a hospital-based violence intervention program.

Nine hospitals in the state in total will receive federal Victims of Crime Act funding.

In the first phase of the 21-month grant, AtlantiCare submitted a program plan to Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, the training and technical assistance provider for program. AtlantiCare’s program plan focuses on how it will connect with victims of gun violence and other violence with a goal of breaking the cycle of violence.

Once approved, the program is expected to launch in the summer.

“As a regional Trauma Center, we see the devastating toll violence takes on young people, families and our community,” Margaret Belfield, chief operating officer, AtlantiCare, said. “This important work will likely include sharing tools with, and giving support to victims while they are in the hospital. Our goal is to engage them in safe behaviors to protect them from future harm.”

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. said his administration’s goal is to be proactive in decreasing violence.

“We are thrilled that AtlantiCare has been awarded this grant,” Small said. “AtlantiCare has strong ties in the Atlantic City community and has continued to be active in promoting and encouraging safety and prevention for overall well-being.”

“We are extremely grateful to the Giffords for this generous donation and to the State of New Jersey for recognizing the needs of our region,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said. “Of the 13 homicides that occurred in Atlantic County in 2019, five of the victims were between the ages of 10 and 20. The vicarious trauma experienced by their friends and family members can have a chilling effect, which can contribute to a lasting cycle of gun violence. Too many of our local homicide victims as a result of gun violence have had a familial relationship to previous homicide victims, which occurred as a result of gun violence. Sadly, this is not a coincidence. I am hopeful that this grant will help us put an end to this senseless loss of human life.”