New York-based Northwell Health on Thursday said it plans to invest $1 million in efforts related to gun violence prevention.
Northwell CEO Michael Dowling said during a forum on gun violence hosted by the system that it will commit funding. The New Hyde Park-based health system is still determining how the money will be used, which could include research and advocacy efforts, according to spokesman Terry Lynam.
The announcement is similar to work already ongoing at Kaiser Permanente. The Oakland, Calif-based integrated delivery system said in April 2018 it will commit $2 million to launch its own research initiative for clinicians to help prevent injuries and death from gun violence. The federal government doesn't contribute much funding to gun violence research.
The $1 million investment announcement from Dowling was unexpected to even staff at Northwell, according to Lynam.
"He (Dowling) was so energized by what happened during the day he made the pronouncement in the closing remarks," he said.
Thursday's forum in New York City focused on healthcare industry's role in gun violence prevention. The roughly 170 attendees of the forum included staff from hospitals, health systems and healthcare trade associations.
Dowling also called on other health systems to make similar financial commitments to combating gun violence.
"I have been frustrated by the inability of many health system CEOs to stand up and talk about the issue of gun violence," Dowling said. "CEOs can't be silent anymore, not on an issue this big. If you have the courage and strength to run a big health system, you should have the courage to stand up and talk about this. My goal is to get all major health systems in the United States to pledge their support."
Northwell has created a webpage where healthcare leaders can pledge to take various steps to address gun violence such as advocating for gun laws.
Health professionals have become increasingly vocal about gun violence and how it impacts them. Last November, the hashtag #ThisIsOurLane erupted on Twitter mostly from physicians and nurses commenting about how many patients they treat for gun-related injuries. The hashtag emerged after the National Rifle Association tweeted how doctors should "stay in their lane" on the issue.
Northwell plans to reach out to the attendees of the forum " to organize work groups on education, prevention, advocacy, research and other areas" of gun violence prevention, according to a news release. Northwell also plans to host another forum on the topic next year to discuss progress.