Prisma Health awarded $2M Federal grant to launch hospital-based violence intervention program

April 10, 2024

Prisma Health Richland Hospital Trauma Center was recently awarded critical grant funding from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Richland’s trauma center will receive $2,000,000 to support a proposed initiative called “Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Community Violence Through a Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program” based in Columbia, South Carolina. The grant award will fund the initiative until September 30, 2026. The grant is part of a DOJ program awarding more than 3,700 grants nationwide to support community safety.

The funding will support development and implementation of a hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP) at Prisma Health Richland Hospital’s American College of Surgeons (ACS) verified Level 1 Trauma Center in Columbia, South Carolina, in collaboration with community partners. A community advisory group will play a key role in planning and developing the program.

The primary goals of the innovative program are:

  • Reduce community violence and the rate of repeated violent criminal behaviors,
  • Address individual risk and protective factors for violence, and,
  • Utilize and contribute research related to the program and its impact.

The HVIP will serve high-risk teens and young adults living in underserved, marginalized, and high-crime areas of the Midlands treated at the trauma center for a violence-related injury (gunshot wound, stabbing, or assault). HVIPs are an evidence-based strategy that utilizes credible, trusted messengers to provide intensive case management and wraparound services to patients with violence-related injuries.

The grant team in Columbia is comprised of Prisma Health trauma, internal medicine, psychiatry, and injury prevention specialists in partnership with University of South Carolina (USC) researchers specializing in psychology, public health, criminology and criminal justice.

“Caring for our patients and community extends beyond the walls of our hospitals. At Richland Hospital’s trauma center, our dedicated clinicians confront the reality of patients with violence-related injuries on nearly a daily basis. As we treat their physical wounds, survivors are often open to interventions to break the cycle of violence,” said Prisma Health trauma surgeon Lindsey Dunkelberger, MD.

Dunkelberger added, “With this funding, Prisma Health will provide program participants with direct assistance and link them to community-based resources to improve their quality of life.”

Dunkelberger is the principal investigator for the grant program and an assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia. She is joined by co-principal investigator and USC psychology professor Meeta Banerjee, PhD. The project team includes Prisma Health team members Lara Peck, MPH, Kenishia Golden-Smith, DHA; Rachel Houchins, MD; Angela Jenkins, MPPA; Poornema Ramasamy, MD and USC faculty researchers Deborah L Billings, PhD; Kait Boyle, PhD; and Wendy C. Regoeczi, PhD.


About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a private nonprofit health company and the largest health care organization in South Carolina. The company has 29,309 team members, 18 acute and specialty hospitals, 2,827 licensed beds, 305 practice sites, and more than 5,400 employed and independent clinicians across its clinically integrated inVio Health Network. Along with this innovative network, Prisma Health serves almost 1.5 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Connect with Prisma Health on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and  Twitter/X. Visit

About the DOJ Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime; advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice; assist victims; and uphold the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at More information about this and other OJP awards can be found on the OJP FY 23 Grant Awards site.