Nationally, homicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 15 to 19. In Philadelphia it is the leading cause.
In 2008, there were 179 homicides committed against youth ages 7 to 24 in Philadelphia—a 20% increase over the previous year. Nearly all these deaths were attributed to shootings. More young people are the perpetrators of gun violence as well. In 2008, roughly two-thirds of shooting offenders in Philadelphia were between the ages of 14 and 24.
Originally developed in Chicago, CeaseFire is a violence intervention based on the premise that violence is a public health issue and can be prevented. Based in Temple’s Center for Bioethics and Urban Health Policy (CBUHP), Philadelphia CeaseFire duplicates the evidence-based methodology of the CeaseFire Chicago public health model, focusing its efforts in the 22nd Police District of North Philadelphia. In 2009, the 22nd Police District had the highest number of shootings in the city. In addition, the number and rate of shootings for youth ages 14 to 25 years was the highest in Philadelphia.
22nd Police District (click map to enlarge)
CeaseFire’s approach includes efforts to heighten community awareness about gun violence and encourage area residents, community, business and faith-based leaders to work together and get involved. CeaseFire uses the five core components of the Chicago model:
Criminal justice participation
Medical Home for the Homeless
Homeless individuals in Philadelphia have little access to appropriate, ongoing primary health care services. Most have no choice but to seek care in local hospital emergency rooms, which are not designed to provide primary care. Patients seeking primary care there are not likely to receive followup or preventive care. In addition, the practice of providing primary care through emergency rooms puts institutions under financial strain.
To help address this issue, Temple University’s Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Policy (CBUHP) is working to develop a service delivery model dedicated to the unique needs of the homeless community. Based on the concept of the “medical home,” its services will include medical care, dental care, and mental health and substance abuse counseling for adults and children at area shelters and soup kitchens.
Limb Salvage Center
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation. Diabetes can cause blood vessels in the foot and leg to narrow, causing poor circulation, and making the limb susceptible to infection that cannot be healed. Limbs are often sacrificed to save the patientís life. Limb amputation rates for African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics exceed those of Caucasians. Among African-Americans, the rate is nearly four times higher than among Caucasians. Temple University Hospital's new Limb Salvage Center, under the direction of vascular surgeon Dr. Eric Choi, is working with the Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Policy (CBUHP) to disseminate information to local faith-based organizations about the importance of preventing diabetes and to offer monthly foot screenings for at risk populations.
Medically underserved communities are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. One way to reduce this risk could be to improve health literacy—to empower people with a better understanding of health information.
With a $100,000 grant from Verizon Foundation, Temple has launched Telemedicine Light, a program that creates community health education via targeted, customized e-mail messages based on the unique needs and concerns of those living in an urban environment. Temple health professionals and community leaders work together to craft these messages, educating their neighbors about cardiovascular health. Community leaders help design health messages that are seen as important by their friends and neighbors, motivaing them to use the system. The goal is to increase participant knowledge about cardiovascular disease, its prevention through lifestyle changes, and treatment options.
Three community organziations—Congreso de Latinos Unidos, the Maria de los Santos Health Center (of the Delaware Valley Community Health group), and the Health and Social Services Ministry of Triumph Baptist Church—are working with Temple on the program. Web-based communications have been shown to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.
The CBUHP’s Community Ambassadors are key community leaders and representatives who provide insight and linkage with the broader community, and ensure that research will be the most community responsive. These Community Ambassadors have already contributed to proposals to NIH and initiated health education and enrichment activities in the community. After training in research strategies, they will work with all parts of the CBUHP to develop clear priorities, procedures, and effectiveness measures before embarking on their mission of facilitating community education and research.
Communities for Change
Temple University and local communities are working together to support boys of color. Programming for Communities for Change includes: