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Sunnybrook's BRAVE program receives renewed City funding and expands to two other hospitals

March 29, 2023

Sunnybrook’s Breaking the Cycle of Violence with Empathy (BRAVE) Program has received renewed funding from the City of Toronto to continue and expand its work. The program was developed at the hospital and launched in September 2020. It is the first of its kind at a Canadian trauma centre and promotes positive alternatives to violence in order to reduce retaliation, criminal involvement and re-injury among youth injured by violence.

The City of Toronto will provide Sunnybrook funding for one year of its BRAVE Program operations, and additional funding to support Sunnybrook in the hiring and oversight of two part-time BRAVE case managers for Scarborough Health Network and Humber River Hospital.

In recent years, Sunnybrook has seen an increase in violent injuries accounting for approximately 17% of all trauma patients, or over 350 patients a year. In many instances the same patient returns for multiple injuries, sometimes years apart. BRAVE aims to be part of broader efforts to reverse this trend.

“We’d like to thank the City for its continued support of the BRAVE Program,” says Brandy Tanenbaum, Injury Prevention Coordinator, Sunnybrook. “BRAVE continues to make a tangible impact on the lives of our patients, and our experience has shown how meaningful this work is and will continue to be. We look forward to the opportunity to expand our exceptional team together with our hospital partners and look forward to what we can achieve together.”

BRAVE is informed by hospital-based violence intervention programs operating in the United States since the 1990s. It recognizes the modifiable risk factors associated with violent injury including: poor education, lack of job opportunities, socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods, substance misuse, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and lack of positive role models.

“We are pleased to partner with the North Western Toronto OHT, Sunnybrook and Scarborough Health Network to support our patients being cared for at home by a community worker after a violent experience,” says Jane Casey, Director of Emergency Services at Humber River Hospital. “We truly hope this supports patients and their significant others to reduce other violent episodes.”

Evidence supports a model of longer-term case management to connect patients with community agencies to lessen risk factors and increase protective factors for violence.

“We are incredibly excited to be joining this partnership, and are confident that the foundation of services we have built at our organization will allow the BRAVE Program to deliver meaningful results here in Scarborough,” says Sari Greenwood, Director of Mental Health and Addictions at Scarborough Health Network. “Our community needs and deserves a program aimed at addressing the root causes of violence.”

Learn more about the BRAVE Program

For media inquiries, please contact:

Laura Bristow, Communications Advisor, Sunnybrook, 416-480-4040