AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack and dozens of hospital and health system leaders from across the country June 6 participated in a meeting with senior Administration officials at the White House to discuss the public health crisis of gun violence.

“Every day, in every single community we serve — rural, urban or suburban — hospitals see firsthand the devastating impact of not only gun violence, but all forms of community violence,” Pollack said. He shared how hospitals have been leading a number of efforts, including hosting hospital-sponsored gun buyback events that allow community members to get unwanted weapons out of their homes to prevent injuries; distributing with no questions asked free trigger locks to prevent unintentional firearm discharge; and sharing educational resources on firearm safety. 

Pollack also discussed AHA’s efforts to support the field through its Hospitals Against Violence initiative and #HAVhope Friday on June 7 — a National Day of Awareness to end violence, which unites hospitals, health systems, nurses, doctors, health care professionals and individuals from communities across the country in sharing their commitment to ending violence and highlighting impactful innovative strategies and partnerships.

In addition, Pollack talked about AHA’s support for the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees Act (H.R. 2584/S. 2768). The legislation would provide federal protections from workplace violence for health care workers, similar to the protections in current law for airport and aircraft employees.

The White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention hosted the meeting. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm shared updates about the department’s efforts to address the issue. Also participating were Matthew Cook, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association, and Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, who both have led significant efforts to raise awareness and champion the movement to end gun violence. 
 

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