by Catherine D. Patterson
While the de Beaumont Foundation has not traditionally engaged on specific issue areas, our commitment to the health and well-being of children and families makes gun violence an issue that we can’t ignore. The Foundation is proud to partner with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to create an action agenda to reduce childhood gun injuries and deaths. Working with AAP, we will leverage our past experience bringing public health professionals and primary care providers together to address shared concerns.
Gun violence is a leading cause of death of children and adolescents and disproportionately affects young men and youth of color. Most gun deaths among African American and Hispanic youth result from homicide, while white youth are more likely to die from suicide. In March 2018, AAP created the Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Initiative, a three-year, $500,000 initiative to support the development and implementation of programs that enhance cross-sector collaboration and help advance prevention in practice, education, community and justice. Among pediatricians, 15 percent report having treated or consulted on a gun injury in the past year, but fewer than 40 percent say they have adequate training to address firearm safety.
A summit will bring together pediatricians, other healthcare providers, public health leaders, business executives, city and community leaders, and researchers to identify practical policies that effectively promote gun safety and violence prevention. After reviewing the research and identifying examples of successful solutions in prevention and intervention, we will develop an action agenda with practical tools for medical and public health professionals, parents, schools, and other community sectors.
Gun injury and violence is a large, multifaceted issue. Making a difference and keeping children safe will require cross-sector partnerships and a commitment to implementing research-backed policies that can save lives. We look forward to sharing the recommendations and tools from this initiative.
Related resources from AAP: