Minnesota health care systems declare gun violence a public health crisis

by Hennepin Healthcare

Health systems commit to collectively address growing crisis.

Healthcare leaders across Minnesota are joining together to express their shared view that gun violence is a public health crisis. Healthcare systems share a unique perspective on this growing crisis and the impact the lives lost and those forever changed by gun violence has on the health and well-being of our communities.

To address the epidemic of gun violence both locally and nationally, Minnesota’s healthcare systems have pledged to collaborate and take action on the development of solutions to prevent gun violence and advance important conversations on reforms to protect patients, employees and communities.

The CEOs from Allina Health, CentraCare, Children’s Minnesota, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, Gillette Children’s, HealthPartners, Hennepin Healthcare, North Memorial Health and Sanford Health have released the statement below:

As leaders of some of our state’s healthcare systems, we believe it is time to declare gun violence as a public health crisis and to work to prevent the deaths of innocent people of all ages and backgrounds. We must look no further than the recent shootings on a hospital campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at a school in Uvalde, Texas, a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and countless others just this past year to see its devastating impacts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020 more than 19,000 American lives were lost due to homicide involving a gun. That same year, guns became the leading cause of death for children and teenagers. These statistics are appalling and outrage us as health care providers and should outrage us all. Everyone deserves a world where they can feel safe and live their lives without fear of gun violence.

Gun violence and its horrific impacts are preventable. It has reached epidemic levels and represents a significant threat to public health.

As healthcare providers, we see the impacts of gun violence firsthand every day. We uniquely understand the devastation of this violence in our hospitals and clinics, and the toll it takes on individuals, families, communities and the care providers who treat the victims. We have an important role to play in creating a safer future for all.

We will continue to be fierce advocates for the safety of our employees, patients and the communities we serve, inside and outside our hospital and clinic walls.  By formally declaring gun violence as the public health crisis that it is, we will collectively seek the solutions required to save lives and stem the tide of violence.

Lisa Shannon                                                             Kenneth Holmen, MD
President and CEO                                                       President and CEO
Allina Health                                                                 CentraCare

Marc Gorelick, MD                                                  David Herman, MD
President and CEO                                                       CEO
Children’s Minnesota                                                   Essentia Health

James Hereford                                                        Barbara Joers
President and CEO                                                       President and CEO
Fairview Health Services                                             Gillette Children’s

Jennifer DeCubellis                                                 Andrea Walsh
CEO                                                                                  President and CEO
Hennepin Healthcare                                                   HealthPartners

J. Kevin Croston, MD
President and CEO
North Memorial Health

Bill Gassen, CEO, Sanford Health