We Together: A Communication of Stormont Vail Health

Dear Community Partners,

Here are today’s updates:

  • Coalition Addressing Violence as Public Health Issue

Coalition Addressing Violence as Public Health Issue

Stormont Vail Health team members continue to work to improve the health of our communities, including actively addressing the public health issue of violence. Much of this work is done through our Trauma Services Prevention Team. Stormont Vail’s Topeka hospital has a Level II Trauma Center, verified by the American College of Surgeons, and the Trauma Services team has cared for many individuals impacted by violence in our region.

As some across the country recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 7, we also note that violence in many forms needs to be addressed. Our Trauma Services team partners with many others in the community to reduce violence.

In November 2023, following a string of murders, a small group of dedicated community partners began working together to implement evidence-based, community-led violence intervention programs utilizing a public health approach in Topeka/Shawnee County. Since the group formed, which is called the Community Inspired Violence Intervention Coalition (CIVIC), it has been working diligently toward that end.

  • By early January, the coalition was notified it was one of four cities awarded a grant through National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop Youth and Community Violence Prevention Action Teams.
  • YWCA of Northeast Kansas was made the fiscal agent for the newly formed CIVIC coalition.
  • In March, the group received notification that it was awarded the Department of Justice Federal Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program grant that will provide resources to hire a street team and contract with a national organization to assist in building a violence reduction program, ensuring fidelity.
  • CIVIC has interviewed multiple national/international organizations that offer evidence-based violence intervention program technical support and training, and continues to gather information before selection of a partner.
  • As the coalition is dedicated to building a program that meets community needs, it asked and listened, focusing on neighborhoods most affected by violence. This was done through neighborhood canvassing, a survey that ran simultaneously with the Community Health Needs Assessment, and three well attended town hall sessions.
  • CIVIC has been regularly meeting with NACCHO and CDC to gather more robust data about the community with regards to violence and factors contributing to violence risk and other Social Determinants of Health.
  • Coalition members attended a two-day meeting in Aurora, Colorado, where they had the opportunity to meet and learn from three cities that were awarded grants, staff from NACCHO and CDC, and many other national organizations and leaders in violence prevention.
  • While in Colorado, CIVIC members connected with the Executive Director for Cities United, Anthony Smith, and have been exploring how working with that organization could amplify efforts. Cities United is an organization that has extensive experience assisting communities in building and sustaining change at all levels: city/county leaders, community partners, neighborhoods and individuals. The hope is to develop a comprehensive, long-term approach that will support a violence intervention program, dismantle systems of inequity, and invest in the community.
  • The coalition has presented to the Shawnee County Commission, to multiple City Council representatives, at JUMP’s Nehemiah Action Assembly, at the Brown v Board/Stormont Vail Health event, The Health of the BIPOC Community: A Discussion on Gun Violence, and at the YWCA’s Community Forum on Racial Justice.
  • Two Stormont Vail representatives are active with CIVIC. They include:
    • Teresa Taylor, Trauma Outreach and Forensic Program Manager
    • Annie Buckland, Injury and Violence Prevention Coordinator
  • Other CIVIC members include:
    • Courtland Davis, Director of Operations, YWCA NEKS
    • Teresa Fisher, Director, Shawnee County Health Department
    • Christina Valdivia-Alcala, Councilwoman, City of Topeka
    • Henry Harmon, Administrative Sergeant, Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department
    • Joe Rucker, Captain, Division Manager, Shawnee County Department of Corrections
    • Daniel Martin, Social Worker, E.P.I.C.
    • Dustyn Whyte, Recreation Manager, Shawnee County Parks and Recreation
    • Jake Regnier and Betsy Wiens, JUMP Violence Reduction Team
    • LaRonna Lassiter Saunders, My Better America & Bridging the Gap
    • Felicia Cunningham, Community Health Supervisor, Project COPE
    • Derrick Hodam, Community Member
    • Danielle Twemlow, Community Member
    • Chauncy McBride, Community Member

CIVIC invites community members to upcoming Action Planning Sessions with the focus on community building and violence interruption. Needs will be identified and solutions will be developed together. The  sessions will be at the times and locations listed below. Community members who have questions or need bus passes to attend the sessions can e-mail [email protected]

  • Central Park Community Center, 1534 S.W. Clay, Saturday, June 22, 2024, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Oakland Community Center, 801 N.E. Poplar, Monday, June 24, 2024, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Hillcrest Community center, 1800 S.E. 21st, Saturday, June 29, 2024, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

We together,

Dr. Kenagy

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