Every day MetroHealth Medical Center treats trauma patients from shootings, overdoses and other crime-related incidents. But doctors and nurses from the hospital often ask themselves, "where do these patients go back to?"
The hospital is teaming up with local churches to provide care for those patients after their hospital stay is over, aiming to learn more about where these patients come from and where they're heading back to after their release.
The program is called Community Trauma Institute. So far, about eight churches have partnered with MetroHealth in the efforts.
Rev. Tony Minor is heading up the program and working with faith leaders in the community.
"One person, one family, one block at a time," Minor said. "They'll be there to sort of pick up where the hospital left off."
Minor said the churches will receive referrals from the hospital to get in touch with patients. Their job is to provide support, encouragement and hope.
Trained church leaders will help patients get to and from follow-up appointments, provide child care if necessary and help provide access to jobs and even mental health professionals. They're also working with schools to provide therapy and support for children who are exposed to toxic stress environments.
Their goal is to stop the cycle of violence from occurring in the same neighborhoods and to put an end to generational trauma.
"We can't just focus on the healing of the physical body," Minor said. "It's about healing a person, but also healing the community."
Minor said he recognizes that changing the violence culture is a multifaceted issue and that this program won't fix every problem, but he hopes this effort is just the beginning.
"Our goal is not to just heal the individual but in some ways to stop the cycle of violence, the cycle of poverty, the cycle of hopelessness and despair that sort of undergirds many of these problems," he said.
Church leaders are currently receiving training from professionals at MetroHealth. The hope is that a pilot program will be launched this fall.