BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has
awarded Chris St. Vil, an assistant professor in the University at
Buffalo School of Social Work, a $50,000 grant through its New
Connections program to conduct a literature review on recurrent
violent injury (RVI).
The New Connections program provides research grants and career
development opportunities for early-career scholars.
Though cited frequently in many studies since the 1980s, this
widespread and common problem lacks a cohesive definition.
Sometimes called trauma recidivism or poly-victimization, RVI is a
succession of traumatic events over time that requires repeated
emergency room treatment or hospitalization for its victims.
St. Vil’s review will identify, combine and analyze the
different occurrences and multiple definitions of this complicated
phenomenon into a holistic universal understanding that pinpoints
risk factors and potential preventative measures.
“I’ll not only be able to see which demographic
groups are suffering from violent injury at disproportionate rates,
but will also identify the mechanism of injury,” says St.
Vil. “Off the top of our head, we might think that young
black males suffer most from violent injury, but within that
population are many possibilities like blunt injury, gunshot wounds
RVI is commonly associated with victimization, such as gun
violence, but St. Vil says it also includes incidents such as
domestic violence, falls in the elderly and childhood injuries.
“This is a public health imperative that should concern
everyone,” says St. Vil. “Identifying this information
and bringing it all together will help us prevent the kinds of
injuries responsible for re-current emergency room visits.
St. Vil’s research interest in this area grew from a study
he co-investigated in Maryland as a postdoctoral fellow on black
males and victimization. By looking at the literature on
victimization, the concept of RVI drew his attention, but he
realized that the literature was not well organized.
He says there was a concentration of research on black males in
order to help curb violence, but there needs to be a better
understanding of RVI in general. By taking a flyover view of the
problem, injury prevention can begin in earnest for all the
“I’m hoping through this work that I’m able to
shed more light on this serious issue,” he says.
“We don’t know enough about it and we must create some