Duke University Hospital's violence intervention program set to begin in July

3 June 2022

— Duke University Hospital revealed new details Friday on an initiative aimed at addressing violent crime in Durham.

Duke’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lisa Pickett said the hospital-based violence intervention program will start on July 1.

Duke has partnered with a group called Bull City United, which receives funding from the city of Durham and Durham County. The group will meet victims’ families in the hospital, try to mediate disputes and connect them with social services.

“If there’s anything that could be done to work together with that family, the community, to decrease the risk that the violence will occur again,” Pickett said about the purpose of the program.

Pickett said the program use data to inform their decision making. In 2022, data from the city shows there have been at least 100 people shot in Durham.

“Really, our entire trauma team has been working so hard on this partnership,” Pickett said. “We keep saying, we’re trying to put ourselves out of business.”

Funding for the program will come from a two-year, federal grant. The state is responsible for allocating the federal money.

Pickett said other hospitals around the country have similar programs that have succeeded.

Durham mother mourns the loss of her sons to gun violence

Sherry Williams, who has lost two sons to gun violence, spoke Friday with WRAL News. Williams hopes Duke University Hospital’s new program will eliminate some of the shootings.

“You would never think that you would have to bury your kids,” Williams said. “It’s just heartbreaking.”

On May 26, Williams’ son Jabari was shot while driving. Williams believes her son was not the intended target of the shooting. She believes everyone in Durham needs to be concerned about the level of violence and work toward solutions.

“Make it a wake-up call,” Williams said. “We have to do more.”

In 2007, Williams’ oldest son was murdered in Durham. His case remains unsolved.

After Williams’ first son died, she started a group called “Mothers of Murdered Kids.”

“It’s out of control,” Williams said. “We need to do more.

“This gun violence is just, it’s heartbreaking.”

Sherry Williams has lost two sons to gun violence.

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