Social workers playing role in gun violence prevention


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In about two years nearly 170 people who have been shot have walked through Albany Medical Center’s Emergency Room. It’s emergency room social workers like Latisha Chambers’ job to try to calm tensions so families of victims, or the victims themselves, don’t retaliate.

“It’s been pretty chaotic. I think gun violence is sudden. Like there’s no reason to tell where it’s going to happen,” Chambers said. “Emotions are running high. So you definitely want to make sure that everyone’s ok so that nothing else happens further outside the hospital.” 

Director of Case Management Mitchel Todd said the biggest challenge for case workers like Chambers is case volume and getting adequate resources. 

“Without Latisha or any of the other social workers that work countless hours, we wouldn’t be able to try to get ahead of not only supporting the families here but also trying to stop the cycle of violence,” Todd said. 

Social workers have informally worked with violence mediator 518 SNUG and New York State for about ten years. In the last two years, the hospital’s received state funding for its efforts.

“The randomness of this is what makes this very challenging and concerning because this impacts innocent folks,” Todd said. 

For Chambers, the battle goes beyond the walls of the hospital and into the communities the violence is happening. 

“The youth need more programs to keep them busy in the community where they’re not the focus of violence or they’re thinking about getting into violence,” Chambers said.  

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