Chicago Health Systems Join National Gun Safety Movement to Address Firearms as Leading Cause of Death in Kids

October 19, 2022

Health systems across the country unite to encourage parents to ask about gun access and safety measures.

CHICAGO — Guns are the leading cause of death for kids. Thirteen children die from firearms every day. To help address this crisis and encourage parents to take action by asking about gun safety, Advocate Aurora Health and Advocate Children’s Hospital, Loyola Medicine, NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health, Northwestern Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, OSF HealthCare and OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Rush University Medical Center (RUSH), UChicago Medicine and UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital join 170 other health care organizations representing thousands of hospitals and health systems in a nationwide public awareness and education campaign.

Click Here for Campaign Video

“There has been a surge in new gun owners since the start of the pandemic and it is likely that many of them are not aware that an unsecured gun may put family members at risk of harm.  By providing parents knowledge about how to store firearms safely, we can help reduce the number of youth injured or killed with a firearm," said Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities and attending physician Emergency Medicine. 

By asking about safe gun storage, the campaign is meant to help parents and families feel empowered to ask other parents about access to guns. Broadcast, print and digital ads and a website highlight that access to unlocked guns can lead to death, suicide and gun violence, leading to more children dying from guns than cancer or automobile accidents. The website provides tips on how to have a conversation with other parents about safely stored firearms and encourages parents and caregivers to normalize this conversation.

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About Hospitals United

Impetus for this and other public service campaigns comes from over 100 healthcare marketing and communications executives representing the nation’s most prominent health systems, children’s hospitals, and hospital and health associations. Meeting regularly for a decade, they share knowledge, experience, best practices and resources, knowing they can accomplish more together. Founded and led by national healthcare leader Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., the expanded coalition is partnering with Northwell Health, its Senior Vice President Ramon Soto and its Gun Violence Prevention Learning Collaborative for Hospitals and Health Systems for this effort. Many participants are also forming regional coalitions to offer messages of prevention and safety, hope and healing.