My invitation to attend a convening at the White House for healthcare professionals working in gun violence prevention started with this email:

Hi, Robin,

We met years ago at the AFFIRM meeting in Chicago.  I remember you so well—you made such a deep impression.

There is going to be an event sponsored by Doctors for America at the White House on 6/7 at 11:00 AM to emphasize the importance of health care providers getting involved in stemming gun violence.  We’re putting a list together of people who might be able to attend.  I think you bring such a unique perspective as someone really on the front line.  Might you want to go?  If so, here is the place to sign up. 

I have a daughter at med school at Rutgers now (RWJ).  She’s enjoying it as much as drinking from a fire hose can be enjoyed.  Hope you are doing well, yourself and continue to fight the good fight!

Julie Parsonnet

I have been “fighting the good fight” for many years, so this invitation, which magically appeared in my inbox, gave me a much-needed boost that my advocacy efforts were making a difference. Many of you know my journey to share the public health approach to gun violence prevention with school nurses and the wider school community.  So, of course, my answer to Dr. Parsonnet was a resounding “THANK YOU” and YES! I quickly filled out the sign-up form and this official invitation appeared in my email within a few days.

My dream day was this past Friday, June 7th, which began at the White House and ended with a dinner where the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Viveck Murthy was the guest speaker. In between this whirlwind of a day, was the first face to face meeting with the “This is our Lane” Advisory Council from Brady United. I shared this “pinch me, is this real” adventure with my friend and MGH Gun Violence Prevention Center research partner, Dr. Cornelia Griggs. 


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What I have learned through my gun violence prevention advocacy journey is that school nurses are vital public health partners in this work. The most effective approach to creating safe and supportive school environments requires a comprehensive, coordinated effort including school wide, districtwide, and community wide strategies. School nurses are healthcare partners embedded in school communities who can guide those efforts. As school nurses, we are on the frontlines of gun violence in schools and must be on the frontlines of solving this public health crisis.

School nurses are ideally positioned to work alongside others who are committed to public health approaches to solve the issue of gun violence in school, by both distinguishing the risk factors and then identifying actionable solutions through research and practice. School nurses can champion the cause of gun violence prevention, sounding the alarm and creating evidence-based, multidisciplinary solutions to advance the safety and security of all our nation’s children.

I’m deeply honored to collaborate with partners across multiple disciplines to provide a school nursing perspective in gun violence prevention efforts. It was an inspiring day spent with committed leaders determined to address gun violence through evidence-based, public health solutions. I left feeling reinvigorated knowing we have the full support of the White House behind us. This is all of our lane and school nurses have an important role in reclaiming safe spaces for our students and school communities. We can transform from a gun culture to a gun safe culture, that I know for sure!





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