Eskenazi Hospital looks to curb youth violence with new initiative

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A new program from Eskenazi Hospital is looking to curb youth violence in the Circle City.

Recently, the hospital was awarded a $1 million grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. With that money, they will launch “Indy Heartbeat,” a two year pilot program focusing its efforts on reducing youth violence on the city’s north side.

“We have to look at violence as a symptom of a disease,” said Injury Prevention Coordinator for Eskenazi Dannielle Gilyan.

The program will focus on the area spanning from 30th to 38th St. and Keystone Ave. to Sherman Dr., which is an area identified by IMPD for high violence.  Indy Heartbeat will then look to analyze and strengthen area resources like education, jobs, healthcare and recreation, which Project Director Brian Moore says are factors known to help reduce crime and violence.

“Rather than arresting the way out of a situation or to treat people after they’ve been injured or shot or been the victim of violence, it really allows us to start this process and build and really prevent all of the things that contribute to erosion of different communities,” said Project Director Brian Moore.

So far the program is still in its planning stages but organizers are hopeful that the project will find success. Gilyan says hospitals no longer need to be the last link in the violence chain and simply patch up victims. Moving forward, she hopes their influence can prevent people from ever becoming victims.

“If we want to address it as a problem, we need to treat it as a public health problem,” she said.