Leave No Homie Behind: A Peer Education Approach to Urban Health Justice

Alexandria Davis, MD and Martine Caverl, RN, BSN, CCM
Ujimaa Medics, Chicago, IL

APHA 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo (Nov. 4 - Nov. 8)

This past January, Chicago attracted national attention for the more than 300 gunshot victims in that month alone. A 2015 report by The Nation found that over one-third of Chicago’s shootings occur more than five miles away from a level 1 trauma center. Access to care at such a trauma center can increase a victim’s chances of survival. Ujimaa Medics (UMedics) teaches bystander first aid response to bleeding injuries and breathing emergencies. A 2012 systematic review concluded that while studies on bystander response to trauma victims is limited, that correct administration of first aid by laypersons may improve chances of survival. The Hartford Consensus (American College of Surgeons) concluded in 2015 that hemorrhage control should become an essential component of first aid training for lay responders in order to reduce preventable deaths. UMedics is a grassroots collective created in response to disparities and gaps in care experienced by victims and witnesses to gun violence in Chicago. Six of our current workshop leaders are under the age of 18. We launched our first free workshop in Fall 2014, our Train the Trainer in Spring 2015, and added asthma education in Summer 2015. The wisdom of combining asthma and trauma was affirmed for us when, in 2016, a teen girl in Chicago died of an asthma attack triggered by witnessing someone being shot. Skills reviewed in the workshop include how to administer first aid to gunshot wound victims, transferring care to professional responders, how to communicate with the victim and witnesses to reduce harm from emotional trauma, and self-care after responding. UMedics partners with schools, churches, after-school programs, and other grassroots groups to reach the general public, with focus on Chicago’s Black communities. In 2016 alone, UMedics delivered 14 free workshops and trained 250 people to be lay responders. We are aware that least 6 people who have attended a Train the Trainer have used their skills to respond to a shooting victim as a non-professional bystander. Bystander training in Chicago is not only important, but necessary so that witnesses will feel empowered to intervene, and have skills to do so correctly.

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs Advocacy for health and health education Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs Other professions or practice related to public health