Doctor works to save youth from violence before they reach his ER
Brooklyn, NY – As a hospital ER physician in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Rob Gore saw the results of violence all too closely. So in 2009, Gore and a handful of volunteers started the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) which works with at-risk high school students, teaching them mediation and conflict resolution.
KAVI has launched anti-violence programs at Kings County hospital, local schools and the broader community, serving more than 250 young people. The nonprofit also provides “hospital responders” to assist victims of violence and their families.
“Violence is everywhere they turn … You want to make sure they can learn how to process, deal with it and overcome it,”says Dr. Gore.
Gore, a Brooklyn native, and Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School graduate, finds violent injuries particularly hard to stomach — a feeling compounded by the fact that many of the victims he treats are young men of color.
“When I became an ER doc, my patients looked just like me,” he said. “A lot of this stuff really hits home.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, homicide is the No. 1 cause of death for black men ages 15 to 34.
“Conflict’s not avoidable. But violent conflict is,” Gore said. “Seeing a lot of the traumas that take place at work, or in the neighborhood, you realize, ‘I don’t want this to happen anymore. What do we do about it?'”
“Our community programs cover a lot. Our tutoring program is run by medical students and emergency medicine resident physicians; it’s a way to build a bridge between the hospital and the community. Our afterschool program for middle school students is called KAVI YO, which stands for Young Ones, named in honor of Willis Young, one of our hospital responders who was stabbed and died in 2015.”