It is an honor to be among the new Investment for Impact partnership, which launches this July. In support of the Victory over Violence coalition, Carle and five other leading employers in the community are contributing $300,000 to United Way of Champaign County to support grants that address solutions to violent crime. The partnership includes Busey Bank, Carle Health, Christie Clinic, OSF HealthCare, The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the United Way of Champaign County. These grants will help bring programming and initiatives that offer grassroots solutions to combat systemic violence and change the trajectory in this region.
“We know this is an issue that affects our healthcare workers who are treating the victims of violence and the many families who trust us with their care,” James C. Leonard, MD, Carle Health president and chief executive officer said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of this community and we want to do everything we can to support all of our neighbors who feel the impact of violent crime.”
The rising local and national violence within the community mirrors the level of violence healthcare workers are experiencing on the job. The Carle healthcare system has experienced that impact and responded by creating a Workplace Safety Committee to consider opportunities to improve safety levels for all team members and extend emergency preparedness planning to address local needs.
Dealing with the trauma that comes with the cycle of violence is a primary focus for Carle Health. The organization is committing around-the-clock support to the Emergency Department (ED) as part of the City of Champaign’s Community Gun Violence Reduction framework. Starting this year, a dedicated behavioral health expert will be available to help intervene for anyone presenting a need at the Carle Foundation Hospital ED. Having someone available to address the mental health challenges these critical events often include, will help limit retaliation mentality and connect families involved with additional community resources for long-term support.
“The success of resolving these challenges is making connections among the many community resources, and doing it sustainably,” Napoleon Knight, MD, Carle Health executive vice president and chief medical officer said. “The availability of a social worker to help liaison an open dialogue between victims, medical staff, law enforcement and community partners will offer that safe space when it’s needed most.”
These initiatives will have an impact on team members, patients, families and visitors as process changes and the organization implements these additional security elements to increase surveillance and limit opportunities for violence through these strengthened safety policies.
“We know people who enter our doors may be facing significant health challenges and Carle Health is committed to offering the safest environment possible for everyone, including our team members,” Dr. Knight said.
Over the past year, we have been working to find additional ways to strengthen safety and emergency preparedness across Carle Health. The organization is committing to establish a new role in the system to help advance and lead Security and Emergency Preparedness throughout the healthcare system. The organization and this new leader will work with areas throughout the region to create site-specific operations plans and bring solutions for community-focused issues. It’s a commitment the organization is making for the long term, as it works to keep its hospitals and clinics safe and welcoming spaces for all who depend on Carle Health for care.