Inaugural Fundraising Event Benefits Shock Trauma’s Violence Prevention Program

For immediate release: April 18, 2014

Against the glittering background of the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore skyline, hundreds of supporters including staff, elected officials and public safety personnel gathered on March 28, 2014 to raise money to help support the Violence Prevention Program (VPP), an initiative established in 1998 at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

Held at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, the VPP’s first-ever fundraising event featured 20 signature dishes by local restaurants, as well as silent auction items, live music and remarks from special guests.

Carnell Cooper, MD; FACS; clinical associate professor of surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine; senior vice president and chief medical officer of Dimensions Health; and founder of the Violence Prevention Program, spoke of the program’s beginnings and how Shock Trauma physicians were seeing patients returning multiple times with violent injuries – many of them fatal. “We asked ourselves, ‘What could we do differently?’ We wanted to address the issues that put [our patients] at risk for being victims of violence, and we wanted to address them at the bedside.”

The Violence Prevention Program engages victims of violence during their time of crisis and helps them establish a supportive foundation from which positive changes are possible. The program initiates conversations with Baltimore City youth about the consequences of their risk-taking behaviors, introduces them to career possibilities in the healthcare field, and also provides them with “an avenue for expression,” says Cooper.

Scientific data has shown that hospital-based violence prevention programs can help reduce repeat criminal activity.

“My top priority is to end violence in Baltimore City, but I know that government alone cannot fix our problems,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who served as one of the event’s honorary co-chairs. “It takes all of us, which is what I love most about Shock Trauma. The doctors, nurses and entire administration are always willing to go the extra mile to make our city a safer place.  I continue to be inspired by their dedication and commitment to Baltimore, and am confident that by working together we can increase the quality of life for our young people by decreasing crime through the Violence Prevention Program.”

Honorary Event Co-Chair Stedman Graham, Chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, was also in attendance and addressed the crowd. Graham, whose identity leadership training will soon be utilized within Baltimore City schools, spoke of the importance of identity development.

Silent auction items included memorabilia signed by the Baltimore Orioles’ Nick Markakis and Cal Ripken, Jr, Grand Suite tickets to a show at the Hippodrome Theater, artwork created by local artists and a pair of Jimmy Choo star-studded Ugg boots signed by Oprah Winfrey, who began her career in Baltimore.

In total, the evening raised over $30,000 for the VPP. Thomas Scalea, MD, FACS, MCCM, and Physician-in-Chief of the Shock Trauma Center, said he is proud to be a part of “one of the premier programs at Shock Trauma, in Baltimore and the state of Maryland.” Scalea, also System Chief for Critical Care Services, University of Maryland Medical System; The Honorable Francis X. Kelly Distinguished Professor in Trauma; and Director, Program in Trauma, University of Maryland School of Medicine told the crowd: “I can’t imagine money better spent than preventing a completely preventable event.”