INTERVIEW: CNN Hero, Dr. Rob Gore, helps urban youth avoid violence by healing their mind, bodies, and souls

Watch our sit-down interview with CNN Hero Dr. Robert Gore, founder and executive director of the Brooklyn based non-profit, KAVI or Kings Against Violence Initiative.

Robert Gore KAVI
Born in Buffalo, NY but raised in Brooklyn, Dr. Gore is the founder and executive director of KAVI (Kings Against Violence Initiative. (Photo Courtesy of Rob Gore)

Like most doctors, Robert Gore got into medicine to save lives. Unfortunately, after working in emergency medicine at trauma centers in both Chicago and New York City for the last 16 years, he has seen too many young Black bodies perish instead of thrive. The reality of encountering repeat victims of gunshot wounds and devastated mothers whose children will never come home spurred him to do more.

As the founder and executive director, Gore started KAVI, Kings Against Violence Initiative, in 2009 out of a sense of utter frustration.  The nonprofit hospital, school and community based violence intervention program now serves more than 250 people in Brooklyn, NY and has developed partnerships with other non-profits to maintain it as a 24/7 resource.

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“We want to make sure that young people who are affected and impacted by violence and trauma see something else. When you’ve been injured, and you come from certain neighborhoods, you know violence and trauma is something that is expected,” said Gore in a sit-down interview with

“We give young people and their families, who have been impacted [by violence] the tools to do other things, whether that be to go to school, college or seek employment. We help them heal from traumatic experiences.”

As an attending physician and clinical assistant professor at Kings County Hospital and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, Gore uses his “home base” for the hospital program. It’s a place to not only heal their bodies from trauma, but also as an opportunity to heal their toxic behavior with psychosocial support. The school and community programs are run by KAVI peer graduate and college students, some of who were once in the program themselves, and utilizes a curriculum that focuses on mediation and conflict resolution for middle school and high school age students.

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“We wanted to make sure we have this healing approach just to target these issues,” said Gore. “We want to make this a lot more preemptive and helping to fix these issues instead of just providing Band-aids to the issues of violence and trauma.”

Robert Gore

“A lot of the work that we do, we want to introduce the concept of mental health and comprehensive wellness and help define those factors to figure out what’s best for the patient,” said Dr. Robert Gore during an interview with (Photo courtesy of Kyle Johnson.)

Each year, CNN finds real people who have taken it upon themselves to fix a problem in their community. Dr. Gore will be honored on Sunday as one of the 2018 CNN Heroes making an extraordinary difference to change the world.

Watch our interview with him to see how Dr. Gore is expanding KAVI beyond the borders of Brooklyn and check him out during the CNN Heroes LIVE all-star tribute this Sunday, December 9 at 8PM ET.


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