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UNMC/Nebraska Medicine create program to curb youth violence

Posted at 9:04 PM, May 06, 2017

A new violence-prevention program in Omaha is working to stop the cycle of violence that touches Omaha's youth.  

Dusk to Dawn is a new program developed at Nebraska Medicine that shows teens what happens to gunshot victims inside the emergency room. 

"This is Roberto Gonzalez. He was born here at UNMC May 1994. He was a good kid," said Dr. Charity Evans, Assistant Professor at

University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

Roberto Gonzalez was only  20 years old when he was shot in the chest at 24th and P streets. He died just 11 minutes after arriving at UNMC. 

"Somebody had Facebooked him and offered him $30 of marijuana," said Dr. Evans. "So, when he got there that morning with the girl that had Facebooked him, there were 3 guys. That showed up. One pulled a gun and shot him in the chest." 

Teens with the Dusk to Dawn program learned about Gonzalez as part of an effort to learn the story behind the statistics and put a face to gun violence in our city. 

"I think for them to actually be in that atmosphere, to feel how warm it is in the trauma bay because we have to keep our patients warm, to see all of the machines, all of the equipment that it takes to try to save someone's life I think has an impact to say this is real," said Dr. Evans.  

D2D takes at risk teens straight to the trauma room to show the reality of violence. 

"We then take an instrument, this is called a rib spreader...and we put them in between two ribs and we spread," said Dr. Evans. "What this does - is give us access to the heart so we can pump the heart for him." 

The program aims to not only treat violence, but to prevent it. Classes will be held monthly and will focus on decision making skills to avoid risky situations. 

"Well, any effort we can put forth to help our kids is important and this is a program that Omaha doesn't have, we don't have a trauma based prevention program."

"You never know what's going to reach a kid," said Lt. Ken Kanger, director of OPD's Gang Unit. "It could be a class like this. It could be getting them in athletics or other extracurricular activities. We think D2D will give them a whole different perspective."

The program is funded by a three-year, $100,000 dollar grant from UNMC.

Dr. Evans hopes to expand the program to include referrals from across Omaha.