Penn State Berks alumnus supports victims of gun violence

Rodney Babb
Credit: Penn Medicine News

Growing up in West Philadelphia, Rodney Babb is no stranger to gun violence. He is dedicating his life to making a difference in his community in his role as a violence intervention program coordinator at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), located in West Philadelphia. 

Babb was hired as PPMC’s first violence intervention program coordinator in August 2020. In this role, he supports patients after they are discharged from the hospital and helps them to navigate all the challenges they will face in recovery. In addition to counseling, he serves as a bridge to community partner agencies to provide resources, support and assistance in navigating medical, legal and financial issues related to the patient's injury. In addition, he also works with patients on life skills such as goal setting, behavioral change, and increasing connections to school, family, social supports, and social services. Babb’s position at PPMC is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Typically, Babb meets patients and their families while they are in the hospital and then offers regular phone or video check-ins after they are released. He explains that he offers as much or as little support as the patient wants and needs.

Every day is a little different for Babb, who states that currently one of his cases is a 16-year-old victim of gun violence who lost his leg and sustained kidney damage. The patient has spent approximately six months in the hospital and has a long road ahead, Babb states. 

Babb earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Penn State Berks in 2017. His experience as a young Black man who grew up – and still lives – in West Philadelphia makes him relatable to many of the victims he serves. That experience, combined with the knowledge he gained in the criminal justice degree program, make him uniquely qualified for his position. In an interview, he stated, “The position means a lot to me, being able to work with my community members, in my neighborhood, to give them the support they don’t usually have.”

After graduation from Penn State Berks, Babb went to work as a residential tutor counselor for the University of Pennsylvania’s Upward Bound program, and then as a college and career ambassador for Americorps. Then he went to work as a community outreach coordinator for Women in Transition. Around the same time, he joined the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Offices’ Youth Aid Panel and continues to serve in that role.

These positions all have one thing in common: a commitment to making life better for his West Philadelphia community.