$1 Million Grant to Curb Youth Violence in Indianapolis

Eskenazi Health to lead Indy HeartBeat program to improve public safety

Indianapolis, May 10, 2017 – Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is part of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. This two-year grant will help launch and fund Indy HeartBeat, a program geared toward ending youth violence, improving well-being and contributing to public safety in Indianapolis.

Indy HeartBeat will be led by the Prescription for Hope program of the Smith Level I Shock Trauma Center at Eskenazi Health and the Violence Prevention Program of the Marion County Public Health Department. It is intended to promote healing and increase safety, well-being and healthy development of children, youth and families and will aim to prevent, reduce and sustain reductions in violence, including gun and gang violence and victimization.

The program’s two-pronged approach will not only provide services and intervention to individuals and families affected by violent crimes but will also aim to reduce crime at the community level through outreach and education.

“This capacity for compassion and understanding is especially important to us because of the role we play in our community. In addition, as a Level I trauma center, we care for victims of violent crime,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health. “We work with these individuals in the context of their social milieu, to address the factors that resulted in their being caught up in the web of self-and community-destructive violence and work with them to reduce violence recidivism.”

The efforts of Indy HeartBeat will specifically focus on Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s (IMPD) North District 25 – an area of Indianapolis that has seen a substantial increase in violence.  North District 25 spans 1.6 miles and includes the area bordered by: 42nd Street and Millersville Road to the north; Sherman Drive, 38th Street and Drexel Avenue to the east; 34th Street to the south; and Orchard Avenue and Fall Creek Parkway to the west.

“We must take a bold step forward as a community, along with our partners, to provide coordinated resources in an effort to reduce youth violence,” said Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department. “Our goal is to enhance the quality of life through safe and affordable housing, increased access to education and employment, improved public safety, availability of healthy food, and a community free of environmental hazards. Addressing these critical areas will have a positive social and physical impact on our neighborhoods.”

This program will serve as an extension of community-based policing practiced by IMPD, which allows officers a chance to connect with residents in the areas in which they serve and aims to reduce crime and improve quality of life.

“This transformative grant award will allow IMPD to continue to partner with much needed community resources addressing the deprivation and breakdown of neighborhoods and communities,” said Chief Bryan Roach, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “We believe crime is a community issue and can be mitigated through community outreach and education programs such as Indy HeartBeat.”

Community organizations that have offered support to this project include: City of Indianapolis and the Office of the Mayor, IMPD, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana Housing Agency, Indiana Department of Child Services, Indiana’s WorkForce One, EmployIndy, Indy Chamber and additional organizations within North District 25 that serve the community and its residents. A volunteer taskforce is forming and will collaborate on how to best execute the programs’ initiatives.

Indy HeartBeat program leaders hope to create a safe, healthy and thriving community as evidenced by an increase in community engagement and a reduction of violent crimes by 50 percent in 2020.

Eskenazi Health is the public Hospital division of Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County.

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CONTACT: Tom Surber
Phone: 317.880.4793
Cell: 317.402.9327
Pager: 317.310.5972
Email: thomas.surber@eskenazihealth.edu