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Northwell Health hosts symposium on the epidemic of gun violence

Doctors with Northwell Health discuss challenges of gun violence
Doctors with Northwell Health discuss challenges of gun violence 02:08

LONG ISLAND -- Emergency room doctors who see the results of gun violence firsthand are trying to make a difference.

On Tuesday, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan attended a symposium where solutions were being sought to end the epidemic.

Gun violence is one of the great public health challenges of our time, medical experts told survivors at a Northwell Health symposium seeking solutions.

"We view this as a health care issue. It's the leading cause of death in kids," said Dr. Chethan Sathya, a pediatric trauma surgeon.

The Phillips' daughter, Jessica, was killed in a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

"All her hopes and her dreams were taken from her and taken from us, and we have been battling ever since for those who don't have a voice," Sandy Phillips said.

Shenee Johnson's son, Kedrick, was hit by flying bullets at a graduation party in Springfield Gardens, Queens.

"He had an honorary diploma, an academic scholarship to St. John's University. I was devastated. I had to do something," Johnson said.

Parents are dedicating their lives to building a coalition for change, as they travel across the country with messages that are hard to hear.

"It has been a decade since our daughter went to a movie and landed in a Denver morgue with half her head missing, after six 223s from an AR-15 riddled her body," Lonnie Phillips said.

Johnson lost not only her son to gun violence but also her fiancé and a cousin.

"The trauma that we do not speak about, our stories do not get national attention. All three of those murders that happened in my family, all of them were killed by illegal guns," Johnson said.

Doctors in Northwell Health hospitals are now speaking to victims of gunshots and their parents in the emergency room, offering peer mentors, mental health support, and street outreach to break the cycle.

"This is not about gun ownership, not about Second Amendment. It's just about making our communities safer," Dr. Sathya said.

"I have three surviving sons who live with trauma, but I am determined to make a better way, a better America for them," Johnson said.

Doctors, patients, parents, and survivors are trying to make a difference.

Northwell's CEO is urging other leaders in the health care industry to get involved in the mission to protect public health.


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