Healthcare CEOs pledge $10M to tackle gun violence

Health systems across the U.S. have joined the Ad Council and a coalition of health systems to launch a new public awareness and education campaign focused on gun violence prevention.

The Ad Council, a nonprofit organization, will lead the development of this initiative, funded by members of the National Health Care CEO Council on Gun Violence Prevention and Safety, which now includes 53 executives of some of the nation's largest hospitals and health systems, according to a news release.

Healthcare CEOs have pledged an initial $10 million toward the campaign, with a $40 million fundraising goal over the next two years. Lead funding has been provided by St. Louis-based BJC Health System, Froedtert ThedaCare Health, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health, Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine, Columbia, Md.-based MedStar Health and New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health. Significant funding has also been provided by the Children's Hospital Association, Evanston, Ill.-based Endeavor Health and Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health

Through the initiative, announced Feb. 27 during Northwell's fifth annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum, healthcare CEOs aim to reduce firearm deaths, injuries and effects of gun violence on youths, according to the release, which cited an analysis of CDC data by KFF that found firearm injuries have been the leading cause of death among children and teens (ages 1-19) for three consecutive years.

"The argument now about whether or not it is a public health issue; that's no longer the issue," Northwell President and CEO Michael Dowling told Becker's. "Everybody now says it's a public health issue." 

Both councils will collaborate to convene a broad coalition across the advertising, healthcare, marketing, media and tech industries to develop the campaign with pro bono support from creative agency GUT Miami, according to the release. The campaign "will provide people throughout the country with a deeper understanding of the individual actions both gun owners and non-gun owners can take in their homes and communities to protect our nation's youth and save lives," the release said. It will also involve input from an Issue Advisory Council of subject matter experts in gun violence prevention.

More information about the campaign is available here

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