By Peter J. Shulman, M.D., M.B.A., FAAP, Pediatric Associates Chief Executive Officer
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Those simple words from Mahatma Ghandi took on new meaning for so many following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. On Feb. 14, our South Florida community — and perhaps the nation as a whole — was changed forever. We were all left wondering, “What can we do?”.
As the CEO of an organization charged with keeping children healthy and safe, I believe we have an even greater responsibility to find an answer. As the medical provider for so many bright, eager and forward-looking students, we are obligated to do something. As a practice that engages with thousands of parents on a daily basis, we need to be their voice.
Pediatric Associates has joined with the American Academy of Pediatrics in advocating the advancement of meaningful gun legislation and mental health services that keep children safe. We want to see stronger state and federal gun laws that protect children, including a ban used on assault weapons like the one used in the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School. We also call for stronger background checks, solutions addressing firearm trafficking, and encouraging safe firearm storage. We will also continue to work to ensure that children and their families have access to appropriate mental health services, particularly to address the effects of exposure to violence.
Pediatric Associates has created a petition to reinforce our position as a group of concerned pediatricians, parents, teachers, siblings, friends and community members who will not rest in our pursuit to keep our children safe. Click here to sign the petition.
An organization advocating on social issues is not without risk. However as Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack said, “If these kids are brave enough to organize and do what they’re doing, then we should be brave enough to take a stand.”
We all want our children to be safe; to feel confident and happy as they enter their schools; to thrive beyond our wildest expectations. Local business leaders need to realize they have a platform unlike any other. It’s not enough to hope and pray for change, we must create it ourselves.