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Community Conversations: Public Health Leaders
Over the past few years, the medical community in this country has battled dual public health crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, and the gun violence epidemic. Some operate on or care for survivors of firearm injury after they’ve been paralyzed, lost a limb, or been disabled. Some deliver mental health care to siblings and parents of loved ones who have been shot, or treat anxiety of teachers and students who must participate in active shooter drills at school, despite already being traumatized by the constant news of school shootings.

Members of the healthcare community are trained not only to address illnesses and trauma, but also to prevent disease and injuries before they occur. In this panel, we will hear from public health activists to discuss one of the greatest issues facing American public health and discuss concrete actions they’ve been taking in their communities to effect change.

*Can’t join us live? Register now, and we’ll send you an email with a link to view the recording after the event.


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Tannuja Rozario
Associate Director of Research @Everytown for Gun Safety
Liza Chowdhury, Ph.D.
Project Director @Paterson Healing Collective
Dr. Edward Barksdale Jr.
Surgeon-in-Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery @Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital
Dr. Edward Barksdale Jr., is the Surgeon in Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. Additionally, Dr. Barksdale recently launched a hospital-based violence intervention program for teens called the Antifragility Initiative. The program aims to reduce recidivism, prevent adverse outcomes, and improve the patient’s overall well-being.
Dr. Michael Hirsh
Medical Director @Worcester Division of Public Health
Director of Injury Free Coalition for Kids
Johanna Thomas, Ph.D., LCSW
Dr. Johanna Thomas, Ph.D., LCSW (Fayetteville, Arkansas) is a Moms Demand Action volunteer, college professor and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Arkansas. Her research interests include truancy prevention and intervention, school social work, juvenile justice, and gun violence prevention. She has been educating individuals, agencies, communities, and social workers on gun violence prevention through the Be SMART for Kids program for over five years. Dr. Thomas is also a gun owner and has conducted plenty of meaningful, authentic, non judgemental secure firearm storage conversations with gun owners and advocates across the country. She can speak to her experience as a social worker after a traumatic incident as well as preventative measures parents can take to prevent gun violence before it occurs.
Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D.
Washington's 8th Congressional District @U.S. House of Representatives