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Bloomberg to speak at Northwell Gun Violence Prevention Forum

Northwell Health president and CEO Officer Michael Dowling

Northwell Health president and CEO Officer Michael Dowling hosts a summit for health care leaders from around the country on how to reduce gun violence in Manhattan in 2019. Credit: Charles Eckert

Northwell Health says former New York mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg will be a featured speaker at its Gun Violence Prevention Forum.

The event will be held virtually on Dec. 10 and is open to the public. Registration is open.

New Hyde Park-based Northwell, the largest private employer in the state, held its first prevention forum last year, and earlier this year said it was launching a Center for Gun Violence Prevention in an effort to spur national debate on the need for health care leaders to help curtail firearms-related deaths in the United States.

Northwell Health chief executive Michael Dowling has called gun violence in the United States a "public health crisis."

"Gun violence is a public health emergency and it’s on us to keep the conversation going and work together to find solutions," Dowling said. "We have a great opportunity here to find common ground, speak about what is truly happening in our inner cities and other communities, and fix it. Our communities deserve better."

Other notable speakers include former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot in the head during a shooting that killed six people, and Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who has campaigned for stricter gun control measures since 20 children and six educators were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Northwell said the conference would highlight the critical issues facing gun violence in the United States, including public policy, advocacy and the role of government.

The New Hyde Park-based health system said the event would spotlight rising gun violence in cities. For example, New York had more than 500 shootings in the first six months of 2020. Neighborhoods of color in New York are disproportionately impacted by shootings, Northwell said.

Northwell in September also added a question to their routine screening of emergency room patients at some of its hospitals: Do you have a gun in your house?

The question is part of a new screening program designed to analyze patients’ risk for firearm injury.

The program is being funded under a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The research study approaches firearm injury risk similarly to other health hazards, including smoking, substance use and motor vehicle accidents, Northwell said.