Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Buffalo Field Office, announces that Mark Gestring, M.D., the director of the Kessler Trauma Center at University of Rochester Medical Center is the recipient of the FBI’s 2020 Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for his dedication and work providing extensive care and creative support to the Rochester community and its at-risk youth.
“In the FBI, our four guiding principles are people, partnerships, process, and innovation. And the vision of our agency is to be ahead of the threat,” said FBI Buffalo Field Office Special Agent in Charge Stephen Belongia. “What Dr. Gestring has done through his dedication, innovation, and creative work in the Rochester community aligns with these principles and the vision that we work towards every day in the FBI. Director Wray often says that the FBI is focused on the work, who we do it with, and who we do it for. Dr. Gestring’s energy and interests align with that premise. His hard work serves as the perfect definition of what the FBI’s Director Community Leadership Award stands for when we look to recognize the achievements and contributions of our community partners.”
Throughout the year, dedicated and selfless individuals and organizations make extraordinary contributions to their communities across the United States. And every year, the FBI honors the very best among them with its Director’s Community Leadership Award. Award recipients come from different backgrounds, different professional fields, and different parts of the country, and the issues on which they choose to focus vary greatly. But they all have the same motivation—a desire to reach out to those in need and make their communities a better place to live.
As the director of the Kessler Trauma Center at University of Rochester Medical Center, Dr. Gestring’s work is devoted to saving the lives of young gunshot and stabbing victims and ensures they receive support and services to help turn their lives around and keep them from returning to the ER. Dr. Gestring’s programs, such as the Rochester Youth Violence Partnership, Stop the Bleed, and a new training program about responsible gun-ownership, intersects with the FBI’s mission protecting the lives of people in the Rochester area by reducing the recurrence of violence and rescuing young people from crime; training citizens in Stop the Bleed bleed-control techniques to assist themselves or others nearby in an emergency; and by reducing the incidence of legally owned guns being stolen to commit crimes. He has long been known for his engagement with the community and its law enforcement and first responder organizations.
13th Annual Director’s Community Leadership Awards (DCLA) Nomination
Dr. Mark Gestring, the director of the Kessler Trauma Center at University of Rochester Medical Center, goes above and beyond saving the lives of young gunshot and stabbing victims from the Rochester community as a surgeon; he makes sure they receive support and services to help turn their lives around to keep them from returning to the ER with a potentially fatal wound. Through the programs Dr. Gestring founded and supports, such as the Rochester Youth Violence Partnership, Stop the Bleed, and a new training program about responsible gun-ownership, Gestring actively contributed to the safety and well-being of the Rochester community and its at-risk youth in 2020.
- The Rochester Youth Violence Partnership (RYVP) is a hospital-based violence intervention program co-founded by Dr. Gestring in which a network of agencies respond to young victims of gunshot wounds and stab wounds before they leave the hospital. The RYVP is a partnership headed by the University of Rochester Medical Center’s regional trauma center, which is directed by Dr. Gestring, and is supported by dozens of local nonprofit, government, and service-based organizations. Dr. Gestring initiated this program after noting he was treating some of the same youths for gunshot wounds on a recurring basis, and sometimes their last visits were fatal wounds. Gestring also meets monthly with the network of partners to discuss cases and pull resources from the room to help the youth remain on a violence-free path.
- Stop the Bleed is a program that trains people how to stop bleeding in a severely injured person, and under the direction of Dr. Gestring, thousands of people in the AOR, including members of the FBI Buffalo Citizens Academy Alumni Association, have been trained. In 2020, Dr. Gestring identified ways to continue training the community while adhering to guidelines related to COVID-19.
- Responsible Gun Ownership is a new initiative in 2020, which covers topics such as how to safely store firearms to prevent them from being stolen.
Dr. Gestring has intersected with the FBI’s mission by protecting the lives of people in the Rochester area by reducing the recurrence of violence and rescuing young people from crime; training citizens in Stop the Bleed bleed-control techniques to assist themselves or others nearby in an emergency; and by reducing the incidence of legally owned guns being stolen to commit crimes.
Dr. Gestring actively participates with FBI Buffalo on the Project Exile Advisory Board, which brings the community together with law enforcement of all levels and social-service agencies to keep illegal guns off the street.