Where’s the Harm? 911, Emergency Response and Community Trauma

Thursday, July 1, 2021

911 is the gateway to ambulances and emergency medical care, fire and rescue, and police. For too many of us, 911 is a gateway to greater trauma, not resolution. And while policing is very much in the headlines, steering more calls to healthcare providers isn’t the answer. Communities harmed by policing are also harmed by institutional healthcare.

There are other ways to respond.

Dr. LJ Punch is a nationally known trauma surgeon working with community leaders to heal the trauma of violence and the systemic responses to those injuries. Dr. Punch is the founder of St. Louis’s BRIC (Bullet Related Injury Clinic) and The T community health education and resource center in St. Louis. Dr. Rebecca Neusteter is Executive Director of University of Chicago’s Health Lab and Director of Transform911, a national campaign to reshape the 911 system. Together, they pull back the curtain on a system that too often undermines the wellbeing of responders, telecommunicators and people facing emergencies to illuminate what a wellbeing-oriented emergency response system might look like.

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