Larry's Blog: Brooklyn doctor looks to break cycle of violence by reaching out to at-risk youth

Larry C. Mullins
January 20, 2020 - 4:00 pm
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Ran into a hero today. Literally.

Dr. Rob Gore is an emergency room physician and a clinical assistant professor at Kings County/SUNY Downstate. But underneath all the titles (he says), he’s just Dr. Rob. But its not what he is that makes him so special...it’s what he does. He grew up on the streets of Brooklyn (old Brooklyn) when you still had to fight somebody just to live on your street! But he says, lucky for him, he had a mom who was a school teacher and a dad who was an activist, and so their dinner table was always the spot where you talked about how to solve community problems and finding remedies for generational ills. Cut to the chase, when he became a doctor, he decided it was his mission to rescue youngsters (caught up in gangs) by patching them up “first,” and then educating them on how to avoid becoming a first- and second-time victim.

He started KAVI (Kings Against Violence Initiative) which is a hospital and school-based violence intervention program designed to “de-program” young people out of a lifestyle which could end their lives. His program works with volunteers to go into schools and identify at-risk kids, and then work with their counselors, their parents and their friends to mentor their way into a more positive and productive state. He says he’s sick and tired of seeing young boys show up in the ER talking like it’s a “rite of passage” to get shot or to end up in jail. Dr. Gore’s program is designed to break those generational cycles. He also started a more intense mentoring program, which teaches the marginalized about health care professions, so that they too can do what “he” did. What’s really cool is that this guy looks so young, you’d never guess he was a veteran died-in-the-wool physician. I told him he sorta reminds me of that old Neil Patrick Harris TV show about a child prodigy who turned into a doctor (Doogie Howser, M.D.)!!

He’s definitely giving back to his community. CNN honored him with a spot on their CNN Heroe’s program. I just got chills listening to this guy and the ‘intentional trauma” cases he deals with on a daily basis. But it makes me feel good knowing that he’s in the ER...and not just patching them up, but also “pumping them up” with the self-esteem and positive energy that could save their lives. Doc is a hero and the best kind: he doesn’t waste time tooting his own horn; he spends most of his time tooting everybody else’s, and particularly the young people who have turned their lives around as a result of his programs.