This has been a very disturbing and emotional week for our country. We know full well that there are racial disparities in our health care system and we are working hard to address them. Further, we know that there are racial disparities in our criminal justice system and we see them taking place. But we also know that the overwhelmingly vast majority of police officers do their jobs very well and – day in and day out – put their lives on the line to protect every one of us and keep us safe. Our thoughts today are with the families of the victims of this senseless violence. They are also with the caregivers – the women and men of our hospitals – who are the front line responders whenever tragic events occur. As pillars of our communities, hospitals have a role to play in reducing the violence in the communities they serve. In fact, the AHA has taken action on what we can do to reduce violence. These include: giving voice to the need to address the issue; highlighting innovative practices our members adopt to address the problem at the local level; improving understanding of the behavioral dimension of the problem; and supporting research on reducing violence. We support these efforts through our public policy advocacy and tools to help members. Also, various AHA programs in the Health Research & Educational Trust, personal membership groups, American Organization of Nurse Executives and Association of Community Health Improvement – and in Community Connections – contribute to these efforts. Continuing to address these issues is the key to achieving our vision of a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health.

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