Keck School of Medicine of USC



The patients served at the LAC+USC Medical Center come from a varied ethnic background with a significant Latino population, a substantial working class population and a large number of indigent patients. Since the County Hospital is tasked with providing care for all those who cannot afford it elsewhere, the mean socioeconomic level tends to be low with the attendant problems of chronic poor health maintenance, difficult access to health care, and lack of support systems. Superimposed on this demography is a high incidence of gang- and drug-related violence and vehicular injury, which leads to a large volume of both penetrating and blunt major and minor trauma. Given our experience as one of the nation's largest emergency and mental health systems, along with our expertise in medical psychological trauma, we established the USC Center for Trauma, Violence, & Injury Prevention (CTVIP).

About the CTVIP

The complexity of violence and its effects requires a broad social, medical and psychological perspective; one that considers contextual and latent factors as well as more immediate medical concerns. Some of these are social, such as poverty, unemployment, access to illicit drugs, policing strategies, and cultures of violence. Others are personal, such as mental health, personality, substance abuse history, family dynamics, and genetics.

Typically, when individuals experience a traumatic event, they present for care at a health facility where the goal is to limit the degree of physical damage. However, this traditional model does not integrate strategies to mitigate the long-term, more subtle, sequela of injury. Psychological and economic consequences are not targeted during a typical episodic visit. As a result, individuals who survive the traumatic injury frequently suffer-long term physical, psychological and economic consequences, and unknowingly spread this pathology back into their communities. This can take the form of interpersonal violence, drunk driving, child abuse, depression, or withdrawal. This sets up a cycle of violence that becomes difficult to break with each new violent event. This center provides an environment where multiple disciplines can come together to research the causes and effects of violence, and develop empirically-based social and psychological interventions.

If you would like to help the CTVIP fulfill its mission statement, please consider making a donation to the CTVIP. With your gift, together we can continue to make a lasting and positive impact in our community.

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