Nonprofit partners with OHSU to help support gun violence victims

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:28 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - As shootings continue to surge in Portland, a local nonprofit is partnering with OHSU in hopes of breaking the cycle of violence.

Roy Moore is no stranger to what’s happening in his city right now.

“I’m from the community, you know, and I was caught up in the lifestyle,” said Moore. “I’m a survivor of gun violence myself, and I often say I know what it’s like to be in that hospital bed.”

Moore is the co-director of the Community Care team for Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center.

“POIC has had the Healing Hurt People program since 2018, and I’ve been along for the whole ride,” said Moore. “I’ve been here since 2018.”

Any time a person of color is shot or stabbed, Healing Hurt People will send in a counselor to speak with the victim.

“We serve individuals 10 to 35, and we show up within a four-hour window to really try to intervene and help them make some life changing decisions,” said Moore.

Some of their services include working with victims struggling with substance abuse, employment and education opportunities and even housing.

“Relocation is a big thing,” said Moore. “We understand that there’s an immediate risk of retaliation and an immediate threat of violence. So, we want to mitigate that by providing safe spaces.”

The program is already at Legacy Emanuel. Bringing it to OHSU means counselors will now have access to both of the state’s level one trauma centers.

“I think we’re medically prepared,” said Dr. Martin Schreiber. “Emotionally, though, is even more difficult.”

Dr. Schreiber is the division head for trauma, critical care and acute care surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine. He sees firsthand what he calls one of the biggest health problems.

“We have seen a significant increase in what we call penetrating trauma,” said Dr. Schreiber. “Again, those are stab wounds and gunshot wounds. And our incidence rate has gone up from single digits, now to around ten or 11%.”

In January 2019, before the pandemic, there were 32 shootings recorded in Portland. In January of this year, there were 107 shootings recorded.

“Places like Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, that have high death rates from this type of injury, Portland is starting to look like this and we’re all at risk for it,” said Dr. Schreiber.

That’s why he said the new partnership with Healing Hurt People is so crucial.

“The people that are part of the program are also part of the community,” said Dr. Schreiber. “They frequently know the individuals that are involved in these types of crimes and they will go back and suppress, for instance, gang retaliation.”

“And that element of it, I think is truly unique and really amazing,” Dr. Schreiber continued.

For Moore, he’s turning his own lived experience into healing words.

“It’s really traumatic,” said Moore. “And see, that’s the thing with the violence that we’re seeing in our city today.”

“Our community is dealing with a lot of trauma,” he continued. “And so we’re able to come in with a trauma informed approach and address some of the root causes to really, you know, help people heal from violent crimes.

Because these counselors are from the community, Moore said about 80% of the time they already know the person when they come in.

Healing Hurt People recently received $1.5 million from the Oregon Legislature to help with its efforts.