Dr. Airica Steed is executive vice president and chief operating officer at Sinai Chicago. She says her three-hospital system is at the epicenter of gun violence.
“Gun violence prevention should be treated no differently than how the world has responded to the pandemic.”
Sinai has been at the forefront of community partnerships, leveraging the expertise of violence interrupter groups to intervene immediately after someone has been victim of violence in an attempt to prevent retaliation.
Their own community health workers also address social barriers, which often are at the root of gun violence. The system also offers services to lift people out of poverty, such as helping them find stable housing and access to education.
Sinai Chicago also has mental health and substance abuse disorder services that are available to victims and caregivers.
Mikelle Moore is senior vice president and chief community health officer at Intermountain Healthcare, which has 20 hospitals and an insurance arm, serving patients in a large swath of the West.
“Gun ownership in our region is really a way of life, from a sporting perspective, cultural perspective. About half of homes in our service area own guns, and most of them intend to use their weapons safely and wisely and in nonviolent ways.”
Intermountain is committed to Zero Suicides, which has had success and was implemented just as they try to create zero harm in their facilities from a safety and quality perspective.
The system works to normalize conversations with someone perceived to be in crisis both in the clinical setting and as co-workers. Those conversations take place in the emergency departments and clinics and are initiated by crisis responders and anyone supporting the front lines. They track data and modify the education to adapt to the community.
When someone dies by suicide in its service area, the system is given the cause of death, which allows the system to do root cause analysis. In about 80% of cases, someone who dies by suicide has had some interaction with the healthcare community in the past 30 days. So Intermountain staff discusses ways they could have identified issues that would have led to a successful safety plan.
Dr. Chethan Sathya is a pediatric trauma surgeon at Northwell Health in New York and a National Institutes of Health-funded firearm injury prevention researcher.
“I take care of your children.”
Northwell universally screens all patients on firearms access and violence risks and then intervenes appropriately with a physician or a health coach.
The system screens an estimated 50,000 patients a year and tracks any reoccurrences of gun injuries. It also shares research to bring the entire healthcare industry to the table to find solutions.
“There aren’t that many in leadership positions in healthcare who are willing to take a stance on this issue and there are a variety of reasons for that.”
Northwell launched the Gun Violence Prevention Learning Collaborative for Health Systems and Hospitals in April 2021. It’s a grassroots platform that includes 390 different people and health systems from 35 states to share findings and proposed solutions.
Leaders pledge to implement some of these preventive strategies that are found to be best practices.