Brooklyn Doctor and Author Advocates Treating Trauma First to Break Cycle of Violence

Dr. Robert Gore at Kings County Hospital. Photo: Brianna Robles.

By: Brianna Robles

Dr. Robert Gore has been a doctor in the Emergency Department of Kings County Hospital for over 20 years. He spends many days rushing to save lives and putting out the fires caused by the violence on the streets of Brooklyn.

Now, Gore garners a new title as an author. He gathered his experiences from his life at the hospital and on the streets to pen a book, Treating Violence: An Emergency Room Doctor Takes On A Deadly American Epidemic, which releases on May 7 (Beacon Press).

Testifying to the often senseless violence that occurs in front of our eyes, Gore is firm in his belief that the antidote to violence is to treat trauma first.

“The book itself was just a great extension of personal therapy, to maybe bring up some questions that other people might have,” Gore tells BK Reader. “[The book is] a way to really look at these problems that are somewhat age-old, but are somewhat new that have been taking place in our communities and hoping that there’s a way to create solutions for them in a way that can be more effective than what we’ve been doing in the past.”

Gore is no stranger to the effects of trauma and violence many Black men grow up witnessing. He grew up in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn in the 1980s. In the book, he writes about his upbringing and first interactions with his neighborhood as a Black boy and now, a man.

Dr. Robert Gore has worked as an attending physician in the Emergency Department of Kings County Hospital for over 20 years. Photo/Brianna Robles.

The book reveals Gore’s vulnerability, as he shares stories of loved ones whom he has lost, including his friend Willis and adopted brother, Angel. Both were victims of the violence and chaos urban life can sometimes bring to children and young adults, and Gore writes that part of the reason why he is dedicated to helping patients in the ER directly stems from his past.

Gore describes himself as a conscious storyteller — since he uses storytelling when teaching his students in lectures or talking to other hospital staff.

He didn’t realize there was a book to be written until he started writing down his encounters before and after his shifts to cope with the intense emotions he felt. Until he started writing, Gore said he didn’t realize how all the trauma he had been witnessing affected him.

“As physicians, as emergency personnel, we’re so used to providing solutions for other people and fixing other problems that we don’t go back and process the things that we’ve seen,” explained Gore.

“So the traumas that we see in the emergency department or outside of the emergency department, in our neighborhoods, in our families, we tuck that stuff away and go ‘Oh, we’ll come back to that later.’  My priority is to make sure that other people are taken care of and that we keep people alive, but we don’t come back to that.”

Above all else, Gore wants readers to be aware of the patterns that impact our own behavior and of others. If we become more sensitive to this, we can treat the trauma associated with violence by first intervening and helping people become the best versions of themselves, he said.

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