The focus of the presentation was to explore the idea that trauma centers can feasibly lead community-based initiatives that aim to curb gun violence and positively impact the community.
Ashley Williams, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama and a trauma surgeon at USA Health University Hospital, recently presented “Project Inspire: A Model for Mentorship for At-risk Youth” at the 2022 Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention.
At the virtual and in-person conference held in Chicago, experts including physicians delivered evidence-based presentations directly related to varying approaches to firearm injury and prevention and the evolving field of research which seeks to identify the most effective strategies.
As a trauma surgeon at the region’s only level 1 trauma center, gun safety is a topic that Williams feels very passionate about. She sees its impact almost on a daily basis.
“We have to categorize firearm injury (suicide, homicide and unintentional) as a public health issue,” she said. “We also have to prioritize those who are most vulnerable to this issue. It affects all of us, and it will take all of us to mitigate this problem.”
The focus of her presentation was to explore the idea that trauma centers can feasibly lead community-based initiatives that aim to curb gun violence and positively impact the community. “Interventions aimed at reducing gun violence and the impact of gun violence is critical now more than ever,” Williams said.
Her presentation discussed an injury prevention program called Project Inspire, which was co-founded by Williams. This initiative is an example of a successful model for a hospital-led initiative that focuses on mitigating gun violence through empowerment of youth and mentorship.
“We know that adverse childhood experiences place our youth at risk for negative outcomes, but we are proving that positive experiences can have the opposite effect,” Williams said. “Project Inspire is a curriculum based on building confidence, reinforcing skillsets, and exposing youth to career-specific mentorship. We have seen a vast reduction in recidivism among our teens, at 11%, which is superior to almost every intervention around the country of its kind.”