208654 Gang Members In The ED: What You Believe May Not Be True

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mary Pat McKay, MD, MPH , School of Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Mandeep Grewal , School of Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Alison Shaffer, MS , School of Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Background/Purpose: 1. Assess ED staff beliefs regarding young adult ED patients and gang membership. 2. Identify the prevalence of gang members among urban dwelling ED patients ages 18-25.

Methods: Two-phase, cross sectional descriptive survey conducted 9/2007-9/2009 at an adult ED with >62,000 visits/yr in Washington, DC. 1: ED staff employed >1 yr were asked what percentage of ED patients (DC-residents, 18-25yo) were gang members and if patients would be comfortable revealing that information. 2: A convenience sample of non-critically ill, DC-residing ED patients aged 18-25 were surveyed for gang membership and associated behaviors.

Results/Outcomes: 1: N=56 staff members: Mean estimate of gang membership 23.4% (2-100%, sdev: 22.6). 17.9% had discussed gang membership with a patient; 59.6% believed patients would not reveal gang membership. 2: N=235 patients: 64.3% female, 58.1% Black. 94.9% were single but 26.6% had children. 19.0% with at least 1 arrest. 3.6% were gang members, 9.0% had friends in gangs. One person was still active in a gang. 100% gang members disclosed their gang's name. Members entered the gang between ages 12 and 16; 62.5% of gangsters were female and 100% were Black (p=0.026). All gangsters were in local “crews” ranging in size from 40-1000 members. 62.5% of gangsters were “very comfortable” with discussing gangs with providers.

Conclusions: ED staff beliefs about patients and gang membership were inaccurate. In this urban sample, few patients were gang members, but those who were members were forthcoming about their gang involvement. Further research on younger ED patients is warranted.

Learning Objectives:
1: Explain ED staff beliefs gang membership among young adult ED patients 2: Describe the actual prevalence of gang membership and violent behaviors among young adult, non-critically injured ED patients

Keywords: Emergency Department/Room, Youth Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Participated in the development of the study, analysis and interpretation of the results
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.