BRAVE Program

BRAVE believes in assisting victims of violence to recover from both emotional and physical trauma by empowering survivors with the skills, services and opportunities to live safe and healthy lives. To Speak with a BRAVE Hospital Advocate, call:


Violence is a public health problem that affects us all. At ECMC, we are committed to serving a vital role in efforts to reduce community violence in Buffalo. BRAVE is the region’s only hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP). Through BRAVE, ECMC focuses on the structural causes of violence and provides survivors the tools and connections to make lifestyle changes that prevent re-victimization or further perpetration of violence. Together, BRAVE workers will connect patients and families to culturally sensitive, comprehensive, and multifaceted interventions at ECMC and in the community.

Who We Are

Program Director: Paula Kovanic-Spiro, MPH, LMSW

Director Interpersonal Violence Programming: Brienna Hill, LMSW

Program Advocate: Cara Kullman, LMSW

Program Advocate: Airicka Brown, LMSW

Program Psychologist: Dr. Shannon King, PsyD

BRAVE Services

BRAVE advocates provide a full range of services for our program participants. These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Crisis Intervention and Support
  • Bedside Hospital Responder from SNUG
  • Safety Planning after assessing the situation, provide guidance on orders of protection, law enforcement support, legal services and shelter
  • Individual Counseling Sessions by trauma informed mental health professionals
  • Mental Health Counseling for the caregivers of survivors of violence
  • Trauma Support Groups for survivors of violence
  • Intensive Case Management Services
  • Applying for Victim Assistance Funds
  • Danger/Lethality Assessments to evaluate risk for further harm in a domestic violence situation
  • Assistance with Job Training, Life Skills and Job Placement
  • Assistance with Educational/Vocational Training
  • Housing Assistance
  • Assistance with Enrollment for Health Insurance Coverage
  • Transportation Assistance for Counseling and Medical Appointments
  • Referrals to Community-based Service Providers
  • Linkage to Substance Abuse Services

BRAVE services are provided free of charge by frontline staff including:

  • Social Workers
  • Clinical Psychologist and/or Mental Health Counselor
  • SNUG Hospital Responder/Credible Messenger

Understanding Trauma

What trauma feels like:

  • Be scared, angry or shocked
  • Want revenge or to hurt the person who hurt you
  • Be embarrassed
  • Feel guilty
  • Feel numb

Common Trauma Symptoms:

  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling powerless
  • Loss of control
  • Anger
  • Nightmares or flashbacks
  • Headaches or upset stomach
  • Conflict or withdrawing from friends and family

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