Skip to main content

Analysis

Northwell CEO Pledges $1M Toward Gun Violence Prevention

By John Commins  
   December 26, 2019

Michael Dowling challenges healthcare CEOs nationwide to join campaign to stop the bloodshed.

It's time for healthcare leaders to take a stand against firearms violence!

That's what Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling is doing, with a pledge of $1 million to mobilize healthcare providers to combat gun violence as a national public health crisis.

The leader of the largest health system in New York State is also challenging his colleagues at other large health systems in the region to match the investment.

"I have been frustrated by the inability of many health system CEOs to stand up and talk about the issue of gun violence," Dowling told more than 170 attendees at Northwell's Gun Violence Prevention Forum, this month in Manhattan.

Northwell organized the conference to increase awareness of gun violence as a public health issue and leverage the power of a $3.5 trillion industry with a workforce of more than 18 million to find ways of stopping the bloodshed. The conference included physicians, trauma surgeons, researchers, policy experts and healthcare executives.

The movement has its own hashtag #ThisIsOurLane.

"CEOs can't be silent anymore, not on an issue this big. If you have the courage and strength to run a big health system, you should have the courage to stand up and talk about this," he said. "My goal is to get all major health systems in the United States to pledge their support."  

Mark Rosenberg, MD, a public health researcher and former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said most the gun deaths can be prevented by using science. He cited previous government and medical community interventions to eradicate smallpox, reduce smoking, and highway deaths through seatbelt mandates and tougher DUI laws. 

"The sound of screaming babies (wounded or killed by gunshots) in my trauma center continues to haunt me," said conference attendee Sheldon Teperman, MD, director of trauma and critical care services at New York city Health + Hospitals' Jacobi Medical Center. "My voice was not loud enough to bring about change, but the healthcare community as a whole has broad shoulders."

The conference drew representatives from more than 100 health systems, and medical and health trade organizations across the country, mostly from outside the New York area.

Dowling called on healthcare leaders to sign on to a call to action that will lay the groundwork for the public health education/awareness campaign on gun violence.

“I have been frustrated by the inability of many health system CEOs to stand up and talk about the issue of gun violence.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Northwell organized the conference to increase awareness of gun violence as a public health issue and leverage the power of a $3.5 trillion industry with a workforce of more than 18 million to find ways of stopping the bloodshed.

Dowling called on healthcare leaders to sign on to a call to action that will lay the groundwork for the public health education/awareness campaign on gun violence.


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.