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UMMC expands domestic violence program

Alissa Gulin//Daily Record Business Writer//August 11, 2014

UMMC expands domestic violence program

By Alissa Gulin

//Daily Record Business Writer

//August 11, 2014

The University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore has received $70,000 to expand its domestic violence prevention program.

UMMC’s so-called “Bridge Project” serves patients who come in to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and the UMMC Emergency Department and are identified as likely victims of domestic or sexual abuse.

The program will be funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the state Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention. That money comes from a $10 billion federal fund created under the Victims of Crime Act, which is used to support similar initiatives nationwide.

Additionally, the Verizon Foundation contributed $20,000 toward UMMC’s program, which is the 10th hospital-based program of its kind in Maryland to receive state money.

The ninth hospital-based program — at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown — as announced in March. Anne Arundel Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital and Sinai Hospital also have such programs.

The funding for UMMC’s Bridge Project was announced Monday morning at an event featuring a full roster of government officials, including Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who called domestic violence a “silent killer.”

The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, a nonprofit coalition of advocacy groups and service providers, said that 50 people in the state lost their lives to domestic violence from July 2012 to June 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. Five years earlier, the death toll from domestic violence in the state was 75.

The Bridge Project actually launched in January as part of UMMC’s broader Violence Intervention Program, which has been going on for about two decades, according to Dr. Brian Browne, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Through the Bridge Project, health care providers and social workers provide crisis counseling, safety planning, referrals and follow-up services to patients identified as victims. Experts help these patients access whatever resources are necessary, including alternative housing, legal assistance and other services.

The new funding will allow the hospital to hire more on-call intervention specialists to provide these services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Browne said.

“Beyond the medical care, which has insurance associated with it, there’s a lot that needs to be taken care of for these victims that often falls through the cracks,” Browne said. “It’s about doing the extra things to make it a little safer for them. Because they can’t go home.”

“We have a program in place that we’ve been doing for a very long time,” he continued. “But this helps us do an even better job.”


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