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A pediatric policy council plenary: The role of research in reducing gun violence

A pediatric policy council plenary: The role of research in reducing gun violence
( A Pediatric Policy Council state of the art plenary session during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2021 Virtual Meeting explored the role of public health research in iterative policymaking to reduce gun violence in America.

The toll of gun violence on young people represents one of the most significant public health challenges facing contemporary America. In recent years, firearm-related injury and death has made headlines routinely, including mass shootings at schools, public festivals, and places of worship, while daily occurrences of gun violence affect local communities.

Gun violence touches young people directly, impacting them, their family members and friends. Additionally, the ongoing threat of gun violence, reinforced through regular active shooter drills in schools and media reports, extends the detrimental effects of gun violence further through biological stress mechanisms.

Despite the frequency of these tragic events, too little research into interventions and public policies to reduce gun violence has been conducted in over two decades due in large part to a reticence on the part of the federal government to fund such work.

In 2019, the Pediatric Policy Council engaged in successful advocacy efforts that helped to appropriate $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to administer grants for firearm research. Still, the U.S. has lagged behind its peers in identifying and implementing policies to address this problem.

"I'm eager to speak candidly with our expert panel about the challenges of advocating for firearm policy and the unique position of pediatricians to engage in this critical work," said Shale Wong, MD, MSPH. "Our president has charged Congress to act. Together with the power of youth advocates, we must garner the energy, confidence and perseverance to put our children first and decrease access to firearms. Our actions can save lives."

Presentations included: Policies that work to reduce gun violence; presenter: Joshua Sharfstein, MD - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Research and evidence to reduce firearm injuries; presenter: Lois Lee, MD, MPH - Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School Role of physician advocacy for gun violence prevention; presenter: Benjamin Hoffman, MD - OHSU

Dr. Wong and Shetal Shah, MD, chaired the session, "The Role of Research in Reducing Gun Violence: A Pediatric Policy Council State of the Art Plenary," on Sunday, May 2 at 10 a.m. EDT. Reporters interested in an interview with the presenters should contact

The PAS Meeting connects thousands of pediatricians and other health care providers worldwide. For more information about the PAS Meeting, please visit


About the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting connects thousands of pediatricians and other health care providers worldwide. This international gathering offers opportunities for a global audience of physician-scientists, clinicians, and educators to share research, explore new ideas, build career opportunities, and collaborate on future projects. The PAS Meeting is produced through a partnership of four pediatric organizations that are leaders in the advancement of pediatric research and child advocacy: American Pediatric Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Academic Pediatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter @PASMeeting, Instagram PASMeeting and #PAS2021, and like us on Facebook PASMeeting.

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A pediatric policy council plenary: The role of research in reducing gun violence


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