Friday, November 8, 2019

Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue

This week, I participated in a webinar led by Mr. Michael Dowling, the President and CEO of Northwell Health in New York, on gun violence. Mr. Dowling wrote a letter to healthcare CEO’s on this topic that was published in the New York Times.

Listening to Mr. Dowling, I started to reflect on the reality of gun violence in Baltimore. Seventeen people were shot in Baltimore over the weekend of October 11-13 and we are on pace to have our fifth consecutive year with 300 homicides or more. Many of these homicides are the result of gun violence. And although there are individuals working on the problem, there is no real public outcry for this to be fixed.

Our new Police Commissioner, Michael Harrison, is working on a new anti-crime initiative, but the police force can’t solve this problem on their own. The community must work with the police to get criminals and guns off the streets. We know that this is necessary but insufficient to end violent crime. We must also work on the root causes of despair, gang membership, and marginalization. We must rebuild our neighborhoods, improve our schools, and create more viable jobs in our city. This will clearly not be easy, but with the concerted efforts of members of the community, we can make real progress.

In his comments, Mr. Dowling drew a comparison between the outcry about injury and death from vaping with the relative silence on gun violence. He laid out a game plan for healthcare leaders to advocate action from elected officials and the community. I believe that we all must become more involved and I am going to learn more about what we, in the GBMC HealthCare System, can do to reduce gun violence. What do you think?

Thanking Our Veterans on Veterans Day and Every Day
On Monday, we will commemorate Veterans Day. We enjoy our freedom because these individuals were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. Please join me in thanking all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families who have served and made tremendous sacrifices to preserve our freedom.

Acknowledgements for this week
This week, we are recognizing various members of the healthcare team here at GBMC. Let’s celebrate Medical Surgical Nurses Week (Nov. 1-7), National Medical Staff Services Week (Nov. 3-9), and National Radiologic Technology Week (Nov. 3-9). Please join me in thanking each of these colleagues for helping us provide the care we would want for our own loved ones to every patient, every time.


  1. Mary Welliver-DIllonNovember 8, 2019 at 10:26 AM

    I'd like to add to the statistics in your post. Gun violence is also the cause of the majority of reported suicides.

    Wikipedia summarizes the situation this way:

    "Approximately half of suicides are committed using a firearm, accounting for two-thirds of all firearm deaths. Firearms were used in 56.9% of suicides among males in 2016, making it the most commonly used method by them."

    Thank you for directing our attention and encouraging our advocacy.

  2. Thank you Dr. Chessare for the focus on gun violence that is tearing apart communities. It really does take communities of people, whether they are directly affected or not, working together.

  3. Thanks for addressing this critical topic. As leaders and community members we all need to be engaged in a solution.


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