Shooting survivor takes on new role in trauma intervention at UofL Health

Shooting survivor takes on new role in trauma intervention
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 10:04 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As of Tuesday, there have been 169 non-fatal shootings in Louisville so far this year and 68 homicides.

One Louisville woman who is all too familiar with Louisville’s gun violence is using her experience to help others survive their trauma.

Janae Wright was pregnant when she was shot and robbed in front of her home two years ago. Two responding officers were able to help Wright before EMS could take her to the hospital.

Both Wright and her baby boy survived.

Fast-forward two years and Wright is now working as a Trauma Interventionist at UofL Health to help others facing similar trauma.

She doesn’t like to describe herself as a victim or even a survivor, she feels she’s a warrior.

In her new position, she hopes to help others see the warrior in themselves.

When Wright was carried into UofL Health that tragic night, she was pregnant and riddled with bullets, unsure of what her future looked like.

With the help of some Community Health Workers at UofL Health, she found hope. One of those workers is Kiara James.

“She kind of took me under her wing and went above and beyond for me,” Wright said. “And just really trusted and supported me throughout my journey and without her, I don’t think I would be here.

James is a Community Health Worker Supervisor and said they see about 600 patients like Wright annually and have seen more than 500 since July 2022.

Numbers that have required her team to grow to properly support the community.

“So we started out with just one, but we’ve gradually grown to four that way we can provide 24-hour services within the emergency department to be able to be the initial contact for families who are experiencing gun violence,” shared James.

James’ work has been so impactful, it inspired Wright to come back to UofL Health.

Not just as a survivor, but as a relatable voice for those facing the trauma she went through.

“I try to remember the feelings that were going through my mind and the things that I was experiencing in their shoes, and it kind of helps me take the job a little more seriously and builds a sense of urgency for the work I do,” Wright said.

Work 2X Game Changers Executive Director Christopher 2x is familiar with.

2X has spent the last 16 years working with UofL’s Trauma Unit and feels the addition of someone like Wright changes the game for those trying to recover.

“And to have Janae there to talk to staff, and to talk to patients, it’s truly a remarkable situation unfolding before our eyes,” said 2X.

This journey has been a full circle moment for Wright and gives her a chance to help others while simultaneously helping herself.

“Being able to help other people in their survivor journeys has sort of been a therapeutic method for my own self, knowing that what happened to me did not stop me from wanting to become a better person,” shared Wright.

Wright says she hopes her story inspires others to keep fighting and looks forward to helping her fellow warriors get back to living their lives to the fullest.