Thousands of leading hospitals and prominent health associations nationwide unite to encourage families to ask about gun access and safety measures
RENTON, Wash., Sept. 30, 2022 – Guns are the leading cause of death for children. Thirteen children die from guns every day. To encourage parents, grandparents, families and community members to take action by asking about gun safety, Providence, a not-for-profit health system serving the Western U.S., joins thousands of hospitals, health systems, American Hospital Association, Children’s Hospital Association and The Catholic Health Association of the United States in a nationwide public awareness and education campaign.
By asking about safe gun storage, the campaign is meant to help parents and families feel empowered to ask other parents about access to guns. Broadcast, print and digital public service messages and a website highlight that access to unlocked guns can lead to death, suicide and gun violence, making it more likely that children die from guns than cancer or automobile accidents. The website provides tips on how to have a conversation with other parents and families about safely stored firearms, and encourages nomalizing this conversation.
“Providence has a long-standing commitment to increasing gun safety and reducing gun violence across our communities,” said Ali Santore, Chief Advocacy and Social Responsibility Officer at Providence. “We hope this new effort will drive action to help address an unacceptable situation – the fact that guns have now become the leading cause of death for children in the United States.”
Our Mission, which calls on us to serve the community and promote health care for everyone, compels us to speak out with a strong voice on this issue and join others who are also demanding change.
Statistics show that increasing awareness of the need to safely store guns and ammunition saves lives. According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine:
- Just 30% of gun-owners who live with kids store their guns safely. An estimated 4.6 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns.
- Only about one-third of parents have asked another parent if there’s an unlocked gun in their home, but almost 90% say they want to know.
- Locking up guns and ammunition reduces the risk of self-inflicted/unintentional injury to kids by 85%.
“We believe that raising awareness, and encouraging conversations about gun locks, safe storage, and other gun violence prevention and education efforts will help dramatically improve this tragic situation,” Santore said.
To learn more, visit HospitalsUnited.com.
Impetus for this and other public service campaigns come from over 100 healthcare marketing and communications executives representing the nation’s most prominent health systems, children’s hospitals, and hospital and health associations. Meeting regularly for a decade, they share knowledge. experience, best practices and resources, knowing they can accomplish more together. Founded and led by national healthcare leader Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D. the expanded coalition is partnering with Northwell Health, its Senior Vice President Ramon Soto and its Gun Violence Prevention Learning Collaborative for Hospitals and Health Systems for this effort. Many participants are also forming regional coalitions to offer messages of prevention and safety, hope and healing.
Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 52 hospitals, over 900 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing, and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 120,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. Learn about our vision of health for a better world at Providence.org.
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