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Letter From President and CEO: Gun Violence

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Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

The three tragic, senseless mass shootings that have occurred in just a week's time have affected not only the families who have lost loved ones, but all of us throughout the nation who have seen this situation repeat itself with increasing frequency over the past decade. Our collective pain is multiplied because many of these shootings have been fueled by racial or religious hatred.

When senseless things occur over and over, there can be a tendency to grow numb and feel helpless. And gun violence is not limited to mass shootings: Each year, 38,000 people in the United States die as a result of gun violence, and almost 85,000 more suffer non-fatal gun injuries. The epidemic of gun violence and hatred we are seeing throughout the nation can seem like an insurmountable problem. Yet it is precisely at these times that it is more important than ever to care for each other, our community and our nation.

As with previous epidemics (such as polio or AIDS), an important initial step is a shared understanding that the epidemic threatens the nation's health, so an urgent, effective response is necessary. Complacency or hopelessness means wasted time and more avoidable deaths. The American Public Health Association has an informative fact sheet about gun violence and recommendations to increase its prevention; The American College of Physicians published last year a position paper on preventing gun violence and what actions physicians and others can do to help.

For any Cedars-Sinai employees or their immediate family members who would like support in dealing with the emotional challenges of the recurring mass shootings in our nation (or any other issue, for that matter), our Work and Life Matters team is always available for confidential, no-cost consultation.

Because Cedars-Sinai's goal is health and wellbeing for all, violence and hatred are the antithesis of our mission. Through everyone's efforts and the work you do each day caring for our patients and community, I am optimistic about a brighter, more peaceful future.