President’s Breakfast Highlights Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency
Dr. David M. Carlisle, President and CEO of CDU, hosted the 8th Annual President’s Breakfast on Thursday, February 23. Attendees to the virtual event witnessed a timely discussion around this year’s theme, “Gun Violence in America: A Public Health Emergency.”
The event began with opening remarks by President Carlisle followed by a welcoming statement from Rob Bonta, Attorney General, State of California. Attendees were then treated to a panel discussion featuring an engaging lineup of uniquely informed perspectives for direct discourse about gun violence.
Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Dean of CDU’s College of Medicine, served as the panel’s moderator and the panelists included Fernando Rejón, Executive Director, Urban Peace Institute, Dr. Garen Wintemute, Distinguished Professor of Emergency Medicine and Baker–Teret Chair in Violence Prevention, UC Davis, and Chuck D, Co-Founder of the Hip Hop Group Public Enemy.
“Our previous conversations about health inequities, of course, have had life or death implications,” stated Dr. Carlisle in his opening remarks. “However, no prior topic has been as engulfed in tragedy as the one we are seeking to address today.”
Dr. Wintemute, a renowned expert, testified to the reality of gun violence as a public health emergency and what role health professionals can play.
“Doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, this is everybody’s problem right now,” said Wintemute. “For you to make maximum inroads into preventing deaths and injuries from gun violence you need to prevent people from getting shot in the first place. So, think much more broadly about the role of medicine as a guardian of the public’s health and safety.”
Rejón, an expert on the concept of “community violence,” addressed the “unseen gun violence” facing communities and the ways in which it should be approached.
“I think we’re all pseudo-public health experts after the pandemic, we know more about public health than we ever have in our lifetimes,” shared Rejon. “Now we have to look at violence in the same way and approach it as an all-hands-on-deck approach, as an emergency, because our children have been dying for generations. For us, enough is enough, and now is the time to transform how we see our communities and how we address violence.”
Chuck D, whose music brought the plight of gun violence and repression in Black and Brown communities to the attention of broader populations, spoke to the role that celebrity culture plays in helping understand as well as prevent gun violence.
This is a health issue, a government issue and a societal issue so deep that what culture does is it reflects it,” noted Chuck D.
Click here to watch a rebroadcast of the event.