Experts on Gun Violence, Youth Violence, and Community Response to Traumatic Events from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Available for Interviews

BACKGROUND: December 14th marks the anniversary of the Newtown, CT, shooting that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children along with 6 adults killed in a matter of minutes by a single gunman. While Sandy Hook presented us with an unimaginable loss of life, it’s just a fraction of what occurs every day in America, where an average of 87 people die by gunfire. The statistics relating to firearm injuries in kids are staggering. Each year, about 2,700 children (ages 0-19 years) die by gunshot and an additional 15,000 are injured. As one of the busiest pediatric trauma centers in the country, at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) alone, we have treated more than 250 cases of gunshot injuries to children aged 18 younger since 2003– and those are the children who survived to be transported to CHOP.

Violence has become a public health epidemic in our country and carries with it significant and lifelong health and psychosocial consequences, particularly for young people. As the nation’s No. 1 pediatric hospital and a world-renowned research center, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is uniquely positioned — and sees it as our duty — to help reduce the toll that violence takes on our children, youth and families.

Among CHOP’s faculty and staff are some of the nation’s leading experts- clinicians, psychologists, social workers, public health and trauma surgeons- who are working to prevent future tragedies related to firearms through research-based programs designed to reduce the incidence and impact of violence and aggression on children and families in our community.

INTERVIEW AVAILABILITIES: Interviews may be arranged with available experts by contacting Dana Weidig, above.

Michael L. Nance, MD, FACS, FAAP, Director, Pediatric Trauma Program at CHOP Dr. Nance is a Fellow of the Violence Prevention Institute at CHOP has more than 15 years of clinical expertise as a pediatric trauma surgeon in CHOP’s busy level 1 trauma center in the heart of Philadelphia. He has published extensive research in the field of pediatric trauma, specifically examining firearms injury and most recently authored the Gun Violence Policy Statement for the American Pediatric Surgical Association that reflects empirical evidence, clinical expertise and plain common sense. Dr. Nance is available to talk about issues related to the impact of gun violence and appropriate public policy to reduce child exposure to gun violence.

Joel A. Fein, MD, MPH, Attending Physician, Emergency Department, at CHOPDr. Fein is the Co-director of CHOP’s Violence Prevention Initiative and the Co-Director of the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (NNHVIP). Dr. Fein is also on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) and co-leads the Science and Research Committee. He is also a Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fein is available to talk about factors associated with youth violence, its impact on children, families and communities, as well as the importance of a “trauma-informed approach” to reduce stressors that can lead to youth violence in Philadelphia communities and across the country.

Steven Berkowitz, MD, Associate Professor, Psychiatry, The Children's Hospital of PhiladelphiaDr. Berkowitz is a Fellow of the Violence Prevention Institute at CHOP and the Director of the Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery. His main focus has been on the development of interventions for children living in psychosocial adversity, especially in the area childhood trauma and was involved in the development of guidelines on how parents and children could deal with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He is a nationally recognized expert on police-mental health collaborations was one of the architects of the Child Development-Community Policing Program model that was replicated in 15 communities throughout the U.S. He has written, lectured and taught extensively in the area of childhood trauma and its treatment. He is a contributor to the Psychological First Aid Manual for Disaster Response sponsored by SAMHSA and a co-author of the published Skills for Recovery Manual, for use in the weeks and months after a Disaster. Dr. Berkowitz is available to talk about community responses to traumatic events.