U Of C Medicine Gets Millions To Support Children Suffering From Trauma | WBEZ
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University Of Chicago Medicine To Receive Millions To Support Child Trauma Victims

A new $9.1 million gift to the University of Chicago Medicine will help children who suffer from trauma.

The new Block Hessenfeld Casdin Collaborative for Family Resilience is designed to heal beyond the physical wounds. The money will help young patients recover from gun, domestic or sexual violence — or children who’ve witnessed such violence.

“A lot of what drives violence and the risk for violence is untreated, unaddressed psychological trauma,” said psychologist Brad Stolbach, an associate professor of pediatrics at the university and co-director of Healing Hurt People-Chicago.  

“We know many of our young people have experienced all kinds of trauma, and there is very, very little out there to support them,” Stolbach said.

The BHC collaborative is with the U of C Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital on the city’s South Side, and seeks to go beyond physical care by providing free wraparound services to children and their families. That could include help finding housing, child care, mental health services, assistance with returning to school and other community-based social support.

Violence recovery specialists and child life specialists will help families and children who may have a family member treated at the U of C Medicine’s adult trauma center.

The children’s hospital has been designated a pediatric trauma center since 1990. Last year, the university hospital opened a high-level adult trauma center after a protracted fight with South Side activists. Prior to the center’s opening, the university hospital hadn’t provided adult trauma services since 1988.

From May 2018 through March 2019, the University of Chicago treated 3,058 trauma patients of which 276 were children.

According to Chicago police, several children who were victims in notable shootings in the city the past few days were transported to Comer Children’s Hospital. They include a 14-year-old girl who was shot in the ribs and abdomen Monday night moments after she and relatives entered the family’s apartment. In addition, a pair of children who were shot Saturday evening, a 10-year-old girl shot in the shin and an 8-year-old boy shot in the chest and back, were transported to Comer, according to the police.

The $9.1 million comes from the Ellen & Ronald Block Family Foundation and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation.

“I’m looking for a route that will take us from violence and trauma being the end result with no place to go, and therefore begetting more violence,” said Ellen Block, who is also a university hospital trustee.

Natalie Moore is a reporter on WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities desk. Follow her @natalieymoore.

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