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Dr. Rochelle A. Dicker has a Bachelor of Arts from UC San Diego and subsequently obtained her MD degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, graduating with honors. She then completed a General Surgery residency and finally a Fellowship in Trauma/Critical Care at the University of California, San Francisco. She is double-Boarded in General Surgery and Critical Care.
During her Fellowship training, she was educated in the public health model of injury prevention and is now actively involved as the Director of the San Francisco Injury Center. Her special interests within the field of trauma include Violence Prevention for which she has been granted money from the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma and the City of San Francisco. In addition, she is interested in development of systems for mass casualty and trauma in the developing world.
Dr. Dicker is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco and practices at San Francisco General Hospital, the only Level One Trauma Center in San Francisco.
"San Francisco General Hospital trauma surgeon Rochelle Dicker has treated many pedestrians who ended up in the emergency room after being struck by vehicles. She and her four-person research team have conducted an unprecedented analysis of the direct medical costs of auto-versus-pedestrian encounters in San Francisco. They also looked at where the incidents occurred, so that they could identify "high cost areas and high injury morbidity areas, or hot spots" and work with city officials to consider countermeasures that could save lives and money. The study, titled "Cost-Driver Injury Prevention: Creating an Innovative Plan to Save Lives with Limited Resources," was published in the Journal of Trauma in April."
After Emergency Room doctors patch up a young gunshot victim, the patient is given time to recover from the physical wound. While time may heal, there is still the mental wound that lingers according to Anne Marks, the executive director of Oakland-based Youth Alive-an urban violence prevention organization.
Many young gunshot victims are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), something that was initially linked to soldiers. Violence prevention experts discussed ways to improve mental health care for these victims at the two day National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs this week in Oakland.
Marks spoke about the problems of living in communities where victims see violence on a regular basis.
"You get shot on your block, in front of your house, you get treated and you go right back to that house in that same community. You don't know if someone's coming back to get you." she said.
Marks said the victim will likely suffer from what she calls, "Recurring Traumatic Stress Syndrome" Typically identified as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Dr. Rochelle Dicker, a trauma surgeon at San Francisco General, runs a violence-prevention project that works directly with patients who've been shot stabbed or in some way physically assaulted.
Dicker said that PTSD is treatable, but that traditionally, "this particular population" has not wanted to seek mental health care because of the stigma attached. Now she's finding more youth are opening up to the idea of once they hear how it can help them cope with their trauma.
Gun-related injuries and deaths have declined drastically, saving taxpayers nearly half a million dollars in medical costs annually.
San Francisco General Hospital officials released a report this week showing that gunshot wounds dropped from 175 in 2005 to 134 last year. The number of gun-related deaths also sharply declined from 45 in 2006 to 17 in 2009, according to the annual report.
"It's absolutely phenomenal," said Patti O'Connor, a trauma program manager nurse at San Francisco General Hospital.
Officials are hoping the new trend remains, adding that in the first six months of 2010, the hospital admitted 55 gunshot victims; six of those were fatal.
The drop in gun violence doesn't only represent lives spared, it is also money saved. Taxpayers shell out $60,000 for every gunshot victim treated at San Francisco General Hospital, said Rochelle Dicker, assistant professor of surgery at UCSF and a trauma surgeon at SFGH.
Sitting in her office at San Francisco General, Dr. Rochelle Dicker remembers the young man who sparked the idea for the Wraparound Project. The year was 1995 and Dicker was fresh from medical school; armed with a white coat and pager, she set out to meet the gurneys bearing the city's grievously wounded into San Francisco General's emergency room. On one of her first days on the job, a young man, just 16 years old, was wheeled through the sliding doors with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
As Dicker helped care for the young man through his recovery, she came to know him. He told her stories of gang life and the brutality of the drug trade, and Dicker grew concerned. He would survive his injury, but how much time would that buy him before his already marginal luck ran out again?
Dr. Rochelle Dicker, Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, was selected to receive the 2010 Chancellor's Award for Public Service in the faculty/academic category. She received the award in recognition of her work as Director and Founder of the Wraparound Project for Comprehensive Rehabilitation, an outstanding violence prevention program that has developed a new approach to the care of the violently injured by instituting a program, based on the public health model of injury prevention, to reduce injury recidivism.
A new study from the San Francisco Injury Center points to one place where the City can save money and improve the quality of life for the City's residents.
After repairing one young man's gunshot wound, only to see him readmitted a month later with another, trauma surgeon Rochelle Dicker was compelled to face the facts: As with a disease, it could be possible to reduce the risk factors and recurrence of violence. The first-year resident at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center created the Wraparound Project in 2006, which works to reduce violent injury recidivism with youth who have been injured in interpersonal peer violence.
UC Davis trauma surgeon Christine Cocanour had seen her fair share of violently injured youth in Sacramento as well. She worked diligently with Dicker to bring the Wraparound Project to UC Davis Medical Center, which launched the program in January 2010 and enrolled its first patient in March.
There are nearly 1.5 million violent crimes committed every year in the United States. Last year in Indianapolis there were 124 homicides in the metro area. Nationwide homicide is the second leading cause of death in people 15-24 years of age.
To decrease these statistics, the IU/Wishard Level I Trauma Center is partnering with Shepherd Community Center to launch a program aimed at addressing violence-related injuries associated with crime in Indianapolis.
Modeled after a program at San Francisco General Hospital, Wishard Health Services' Prescription for Hope Program will work with individuals who were treated in the IU/Wishard Level I Trauma Center for gunshot and stabbing wounds, as well as other assaults.
Prescription for Hope is based on the framework of a similar program, the Wraparound Project, initiated by the Trauma Center at San Francisco General Hospital in 2005. Dr. Rochelle Dicker, trauma surgeon and director of the Wraparound Project is consulting with the Prescription for Hope team.
Seizing on the "Aha" Moment: Wraparound Project
Helps Young Victims of Violence
At the Annual Conference of the National Association of Public Hospitals the Wraparound Project received the: Reducing Health Care Disparities Award. The award recognizes an organization that reduced the instances of inequities and inconsistencies through the continuum of care by promoting access to culturally appropriate care, equal availability and utilization of services.
The number of victims with gunshot or stab wounds admitted to San Francisco General Hospital has climbed over the last five years with more than 440 patients either shot or knifed in 2007. Dr, Rochelle Dicker, a trauma surgeon at the hospital is quoted as saying, "Unfortunately, the sad part of having so much experience is you get really adept at what you do."
Dr. Dicker is pictured at left with the case managers for the Wraparound Project who help those at risk for repeat violence.