The recent horrific school shootings and the powerful response by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have forced us to confront, once again, the impact of gun violence. Although mass shootings command our attention, children in the United States and Iowa remain at risk daily for becoming victims of gun violence. The Iowa Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics lends its support to those young people, their families and all those who are exposed to the threat of gun violence.
The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to take a strong stance advocating against gun violence and supporting children, youth and families. As announced on March 16, 2018, the organization has launched the American Academy of Pediatrics Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Research Initiative. This initiative will create a collaboration of experts from across the country to study and implement evidence-based solutions to address the epidemic of gun violence and develop plans for prevention.
The epidemic of gun violence against children is a threat to public health. In addition to endangering children’s lives, gun violence adds significantly to the toxic stress load on children, which has been shown to impact their physical and mental well-being. Iowa AAP is committed to advocating for improved access to mental health services to meet the needs of those affected by gun violence and by the threat of gun violence in their schools and communities.
This Saturday, March 24, 2018, the courageous students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are channeling their grief and anger into action, joined by students across the country in peaceful protest. March for Our Lives events will be held at the State Capitol and many other locations in Iowa. The Iowa AAP supports the goals of these events: promotion of gun safety and violence prevention.
Tackling any epidemic requires comprehensive, common-sense solutions at every level and the partnership of all of us who care for children to come together to ensure the safety of children and adolescents in Iowa.
Board of Directors, Iowa Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics
March 22, 2018