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The Skanner News
Published: 11 June 2013

(From left to right): Art Nakamura, Chief Mike
Reese, Dr. Alisha Moreland, Dr. Ameen Ramzy


Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare Inc. and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center are partnering to help reduce youth violence among males of color through Healing Hurt People Portland, or HHP.

HPP Portland will serve males of color, ages 10 to 25, who have experienced intentional trauma such as gunshots and/or stab wounds. It's modeled after HHP Philadelphia, which has been duplicated in 22 other major U.S. cities.

According to Dr. Alisha Moreland, the project director, HHP is a coordination and reinforcement of efforts to prevent violence in North and Northeast Portland that will include county, city and state assistance.

The project will include a multi-disciplinary staff consisting of social workers, chaplains and emergency trauma physicians at Legacy Emanuel's emergency department. They will address a patient's trauma and find ways to connect the victim and his family to resources provided by Cascadia, which include, but are not limited to emotional support, family support, housing, medical follow-up, substance abuse treatment and legal and educational support.

Trauma surgeon Ameen Ramzy says Legacy Emanuel is always looking for ways to better serve the community and this project will be another valuable addition to their approach.

"We want to see the young men in our community live long and productive lives," he says. "We don't want to see them return to our operating table."

According to Legacy Emanuel, HHP's trauma-informed approach takes into account the adversity clients have faced throughout their lives and recognizes that addressing the trauma is critical to breaking the cycle of violence.

The project will provide six months to a year of intensive case management and wrap around services for injured victims and their families at Cascadia's Garlinton Center, where workers will assist them with navigating and connecting to resources. Case management and support services will be provided by clinicians at Garlington, who Legacy Emanuel emphasizes are well trained and culturally responsive.

"With two brothers who are victims of gang violence, I have seen first-hand the way drugs, domestic abuse and poverty can impact this community," says Joshua Lathan, a peer intervention specialist with HHP Portland. "I am looking forward to helping these young men. I wasn't able to help my brothers, but I am now able to help someone else's brother and for that I am grateful."

According to Legacy Emanuel, HHP will promote health wellness as core to overall healing. Some of the expected outcomes include reductions in repeat emergency visits, reductions in retaliatory visits, reductions in arrests and re-arrests, and reductions in the development of Acute Stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Legacy Emanuel says what makes HHP unique is its focus on timing. HHP will have the opportunity to intervene in the emergency department, which is when people are most ready to consider change, they say. According to their research, intervening within four months of a trauma increases the likelihood of preventing further violence.

For more information about HHP Portland, go to http://www.cascadiabhc.org/healing-hurt-people/.

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