Peter A. Gold, MD, experienced a life-changing event in November 2015 when his world collided with one of violence and poverty on the streets of New Orleans.
Then an orthopedic medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine, Gold was driving in downtown New Orleans and stopped to help a woman who was being violently attacked by a man, an encounter that results in Gold being hospitalized with a gunshot wound in his abdomen.
Peter A. Gold
While recovering in the hospital after a two-stage operation, he began to analyze the situation he was in, in much the same way he might analyze an orthopedic case.
“As soon as [I] finish an operation, I go back and I say what went right, what went wrong and how can we fix what went wrong so next time it is better, and how can we bolster what we did right so next time it is better,” Gold, who is a PGY-3 orthopedic surgery resident at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Northwell Health, told Orthopedics Today.
“I kind of did that same analysis on this situation,” he said.
Gold wondered if growing up with a lack of guidance at home and an environment of violence and missed opportunities can lead an individual down a negative path in life.
“I started to investigate what was out there to help some of the youth, especially underserved youth in our communities. I found some awesome community-based organizations that were already doing a good job at empowering underserved youth,” he said.
Strong City developed
Along with eight friends from Tulane University, Gold developed Strong City, a 501(c)(3) organization designed to “change the negative cycle of poverty and an environment of violence into a positive path” by supporting community-based programs that provide youth with resources to reach their potential. Work to establish Strong City began in August 2016 after Tulane University provided fiscal sponsorship and the foundation received a mandate from the IRS. Strong City partnered with the New Orleans-based Youth Empowerment Project.
“We all went down to New Orleans in January and spent the whole weekend with [the Youth Empowerment Project] and with the kids using Empowerment Project, volunteering with them, and fell in love with what they are doing and how they are going about getting these kids on the right track,” said Gold, who is executive director of Strong City.
Strong City officially launched in April 2017 and since then has received over $100,000 from donors and fundraisers to help their community partners.
“We provide the funds to help community organizations fulfill their unrealized costs for the year so that they can be flexible and get an extra van when they need to or support themselves if they lose a government grant,” Gold said.
Besides providing additional funds for community organizations, he added another focus of Strong City is on violence prevention research. Through a partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project and LSU School of Public Health, Strong City hopes to identify individuals most at risk for gun violence and which interventions are most effective for prevention.
“I think it is something relevant to the orthopedic community,” Gold said. “I feel like through Strong City we are able to find that intersection between evidence-based research like we do in medicine and real-life practical solutions.”
An orthopedic career
When he was growing up in Orlando, Florida, Gold was surrounded by people in the medical field. His grandfather was an infectious disease physician; his father was a pediatric ophthalmologist; and his uncle was a dermatologist.
“I was always influenced by my family to become a physician,” Gold said. “I used to go to the OR with my dad when I was younger and loved being in the OR, loved the team atmosphere and loved how you would be doing something so intense and it all could be so quiet at the same time.”
Gold’s passion for upper and lower extremity dissections and his love of spatial thinking when trying to recreate function led him to specialize in orthopedics. His residency at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ relates to his work with Strong City because both endeavors require a team approach to accomplish their goals.
“If we can all work together toward a common goal, empowering youth to follow a positive path, our communities will be stronger,” Gold said. “I know these same principles apply in orthopedics, and when everyone works as a team we can grow more, learn more and take better care of our patients.” – by Casey Tingle
Peter A. Gold, MD, can be reached at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, 270-05 76th Ave., New Hyde Park, NY 11040; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Disclosure: Gold reports no relevant financial disclosures.