The dedicated and compassionate people working at hospitals and health systems throughout the nation are focused, every day, on caring for patients who are sick or injured, advancing health and saving lives.

They should be able to live and work in communities and environments that are safe. Yet, we know health care workers are five times as likely to experience workplace violence as other workers, and acts of violence continue to be prevalent in communities across the country.

Hospitals and health systems are leading efforts to build partnerships and take actions to foster peace, as well as create a safer environment for workers and patients.

June 7 is #HAVhope Friday, a national day of awareness to end violence. AHA’s Hospitals Against Violence (HAV) initiative continues to shine a light on how hospitals and health systems are working to heal victims of violence and their communities, prevent further acts of violence, and address violence in the workplace. The AHA has published an array of resources for health care organizations to use and share with those ready to end violence.

Here are a few examples:

  • Building a Safe Workplace and Community: Violence Mitigation in a Culture of Safety. Released this month and the third of four in a series, this issue brief explores how violence mitigation can be integrated seamlessly into the larger framework of patient and worker safety initiatives, supporting an overall culture of safety.
  • FBI Violence Prevention Strategies to Access and Manage Threats Against Health Care. This podcast features John Riggi, AHA’s national advisor for cybersecurity and risk, and Karie Gibson, unit chief of one of the FBI’s five Behavioral Analysis Units, discussing threat management as a prevention tool, including threat assessment and threat management teams for hospitals and health systems.
  • Providing Trauma Support to Your Workforce Following an Incident or Threat of Violence. Part of the “Building a Safe Workplace and Community” series, this issue brief examines trauma support for hospital and health system team members, focusing on challenges and opportunities.

In the past few years, workplace violence targeting health care workers has increased, yet no federal law exists to protect them. The AHA continues to urge Congress to enact the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees Act (SAVE) Act, which provides protections like those in place now for flight crews, flight attendants and airport workers. Find more information and learn how you can get involved to support passage of this legislation.

I encourage you to check out all these AHA resources and participate in #HAVhope Friday. Visit AHA.org to find digital media content to use, including sample social media posts and ideas for sharing your own organization’s efforts to stand against violence.  

All health care professionals on the front lines caring for patients should be able to do so without worrying about their safety while working. Join hospitals and health systems across the country in spreading awareness and taking action to address this important issue.

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