Two local physicians have an up-close and personal view of the toll violence takes in Memphis, and they are joining with concerned representatives from community organizations to try to do something about it.
Martin A. Croce, MD, FACS, a professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Trauma and Critical Care at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, helmed the Elvis Presley Trauma Center at Regional One Health as medical director for more than two decades. The center is one of the nation’s busiest trauma centers and the only one in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas with a Level 1 designation, the highest level. Dr. Croce is now the senior vice president and chief medical officer at Regional One Health.
Regan Williams, MD, an assistant professor of surgery and pediatrics at UTHSC, is the medical director of trauma at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Her center reports seeing twice as many firearm injuries as any other children’s trauma center in the United States.
The surgeons will be among those leading the inaugural Responses to Community Violence Summit, Saturday, April 6, a morning community event to discuss solutions to the violence in all its forms.
The organizations collaborating to present the summit include: ACE Awareness Foundation, Bridges, Latino Memphis, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis Area Women’s Council, Memphis Says No More, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Out Memphis, Regional One Health, Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center, Shelby County Health Department, Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, University of Memphis, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Victims to Victory.
The summit will be held from 9 a.m. until noon in Le Bonheur’s Chesney Auditorium, 50 North Dunlap. The public is invited, and free parking is available at Le Bonheur’s Parking Garage at 130 Manassas.
“Community violence affects all of us on many different levels,” Dr. Williams said. “We see children affected by violence nearly every day at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. There are many groups in the community working to make a difference, but there is not a collective effort to align these organizations. By working together on prevention, education, and recovery, we can decrease community violence.”
Some chilling statistics:
- Violent crimes by juveniles saw an increase from 2017 to 2018. The county number went from 609 in 2017 to 661.
- Shelby County has the highest number of domestic violence reports, child abuse reports, and domestic violence assaults and homicides in the state
- Violent crimes and gun crimes overall did decrease in Memphis and Shelby County in 2018 compared to 2017, but the rates are still very high
At Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital:
- Firearm injuries to children more than doubled in 2017 to 88; up from 41 in 2016 and 2015. The mortality rate rose from 2 percent in 2015 and 2016 to 9 percent in 2017.
At Regional One Health:
- According to a study, the number of people with gunshot wounds admitted to Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center increased 59 percent from 2010-2011 to 2014-2015
“The incidence of violence, especially gun violence, is increasing nationally and in the Mid-South region,” Dr. Croce said. “There are many factors that are causative, and these must be addressed comprehensively. The cost to our families is tremendous and includes both an emotional and financial burden. The Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center at Regional One Health deals with multiple victims daily and is committed to this community effort to reduce the number of victims of violent acts.
Responses to Community Violence Summit Agenda
8:30 a.m. Light breakfast and registration
9:05 – 9:25 a.m. Opening Remarks
Regan Williams, MD, medical director of Trauma, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
Kitty Lawson, EdD, founder and executive director, Victims to Victory
9:30 – 10:30 a.m. First Panel
Otis Sanford, facilitator
Hardin Chair of Excellence in Journalism and Strategic Media, University of Memphis; The Daily Memphian; Local 24
What is the face of violence in your area of expertise?
How many people are involved?
What is the cost/impact – both human and financial?
Panelists in order of remarks (3-5 minutes each):
Martin Croce, MD, chief medical officer, Regional One Health
Marco Ross, MD, acting chief medical examiner, West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center
Mike Labonte, executive director, Memphis Crisis Center
Sandy Bromley, JD, director, Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center
Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, executive director, Shelby County Health Department
Doug McGowen, chief operating officer, City of Memphis
Renee Wilson-Simmons, DrPH, executive director, ACE Awareness Foundation
Brief Q&A – Otis Sanford, facilitator
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Second Panel
Regina Walker, facilitator, President/CEO, R.D. Walker & Associates, retired senior vice president, United Way of the Mid-South
What are you doing to address community violence?
What can we do to help you with this work?
Panelists in order of remarks:
Altha Stewart, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and director, Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, UTHSC; and president, American Psychiatric Association, How to use your voice; be an advocate
Youth Ambassadors, Bridges USA, Youth support and activities
Elokin CaPece, program director, Out Memphis, Intervention for LGBTQ youth
Charlie Caswell, outreach pastor, The House Church, Frayser, and ACE advocate, Advocating in your community
Deborah Clubb, executive director, Memphis Area Women’s Council, Support for victims
Marsha Wilson, Moms Demand Action, Firearm violence survivor perspective
Brief Q & A – Regina Walker, facilitator
11:30 a.m. – Noon Final discussion and questions
Colleen Kraft, MD, immediate past president, American Academy of Pediatrics
Marsha Wilson, violence survivor
Noon Individual discussions and booths, Research Center Lobby