Taking a stand against gun violence
In times such as these, I imagine that many of us are hurting and feeling profound dismay in the face of a relentless spate of gun violence across the country. The proof that a problem has become endemic is when it transcends the ability to shock, becoming a wound that never heals. We are encountering violence in schools and churches, supermarkets and shopping malls, homes and hospitals. In speaking about these events, we’ve developed a kind of shorthand based on the cities where they happen: Buffalo, Charleston, Boulder, Laguna Woods, Parkland, Uvalde, Tulsa.
As we reflect and console one another after each of these events, it's natural to wonder, could we be next? And also to wonder, how many more?
Over the holiday weekend, the Gun Violence Archive noted 15 mass shootings between 5 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Tuesday. If you include all types of gun violence, 179 people were killed and 463 injured.
All of this takes an emotional toll, especially here in our own community, where we are seeing the impact of gun violence firsthand. At a time when our nation is hurting, we encourage you to care for your own well-being. The Peer Support Program can connect you with your colleagues, while the Personal Assistance Service provides support from professional counsellors.
The role of Duke Health
As caregivers, educators, policy advisors and researchers, we are also problem solvers. We are here to relieve suffering, to find new ways of approaching tough problems, to inspire future generations and to make lives better. This is why we are called to take a stand against gun violence and to recognize it as yet another public health crisis.
Here at Duke Health, those with the passion to prevent gun violence have gathered with community partners to look at best practices. We are bringing our expertise to the table on how our hospitals can help our community. We have hope that with innovation, advocacy and courage, we can make a positive difference.
A. Eugene Washington, MD
Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University
President and CEO, Duke University Health System