President Bill Clinton, White House’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention Join Northwell Health’s Fifth Annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum

The Ad Council, Centers for Disease Control, national health care CEOs and leaders across business and communities join the annual gathering in New York City

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health’s president and CEO delivers remarks during a previous Gun Violence Prevention Forum. (Credit: Northwell Health)

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y.--()--Gun violence death and injuries declined across the country in 2023, with more than an 8 percent decrease compared to the previous year. To continue that momentum and implement lasting change across our communities, Northwell Health, New York’s largest health system, is once again convening healthcare, government, business and community leaders for its fifth annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum on February 27 starting at 9 a.m. E.T. The hybrid event will welcome 150 leaders in person in New York City, while others can register to attend the Forum virtually at

The Forum will be hosted by Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell, and feature a half-day program of panel conversations, one-on-one discussions and special breakout working sessions.

Bill Clinton, founder and board chair of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, will join the Forum for a special keynote address. As President, he enacted the assault weapons ban, common-sense gun safety legislation like the Brady Bill, and new programs that promoted crime prevention that led to drops in gun violence and mass shootings, and the lowest crime rate in a generation. Now, on the 30th anniversary of the Brady Bill going into effect, President Clinton will share his perspective on this bipartisan legislative achievement he signed into law, what lessons can be learned moving forward, and the urgent call to action for communities and organizations – healthcare and otherwise – to tackle the gun violence epidemic.

“Addressing gun violence as a public health crisis demands action. The responsibility lies with the leaders of our health systems, government and community to shift the conversation and actively seek solutions that bring about significant change,” said Mr. Dowling, whose outreach efforts led to the creation of the National Health Care CEO Council for Gun Violence Prevention and Safety in late 2022. “Through our network of health system CEOs, hundreds of clinicians who participate in Northwell's Gun Violence Prevention Learning Collaborative, and countless other partnerships, we have the ability, and obligation, to change the landscape of gun violence-related injuries and deaths in this country.”

Michelle Hillman, chief campaign development officer of the Ad Council, a national nonprofit that convenes partners in advertising, entertainment, media, philanthropy and tech to help address the most pressing social issues facing America, will discuss their efforts around reframing gun violence as a public health issue and the intersections between gun violence and mental and behavioral health. Ms. Hillman will also share new independent research conducted around gun violence.

Other notable speakers at this year’s Forum include:

  • Mark Bryant, executive director, of Gun Violence Archive
  • Bill Clinton, founder and board chair, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States
  • Stefanie Feldman, director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, The White House
  • Michelle Hillman, chief campaign development officer, The Ad Council
  • Jens Ludwig, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago
  • David Muhammad, executive director, National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform
  • Megan Ranney, dean, School of Public Health at Yale University
  • Jim Ross, mayor, of Arlington, Texas
  • Amy Solomon, principal deputy assistant attorney general, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Steve Sumner, senior advisor, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control

During the Forum, to reflect on all of the lives lost to gun violence, in-person attendees can create their own and interact with a Soul Box Project art installation. Since 2017, The Soul Box Project has been raising awareness around the gun violence epidemic, helping communities create thousands of hand-folded origami boxes representing victims of gun violence – each box represents a physical space for a life lost. Soul Box’s artist and founder, Leslie Lee, will be on hand during the Forum to share her mission and Beverly Emers, a gun violence survivor who was shot in the head, and board member of the Soul Box Project, will share her personal story and how she used education and arts to empower herself to heal.

“For us to make lasting, meaningful change to end senseless gun deaths – whether unintentional, suicide, or violence – we need to address the issue from many different angles. This Forum is a great example of showcasing that approach,” said Chethan Sathya, MD, director of Northwell’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention and pediatric trauma surgeon at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “We will continue to make a difference and reduce gun violence together through our partnerships, advocacy, research initiatives, and education on the frontlines and in our communities.”

Northwell has led the charge to address gun violence as a public health crisis since 2019. Through Northwell’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention, the health system continues to invest in gun violence research, including screening emergency room patients about their risk of gun violence and whether they have a weapon in their home and if it is stored safely.

Northwell created the National Health Care CEO Council on Gun Violence Prevention & Safety, which now includes 53 leaders of some of the nation’s largest health systems and hospitals. During the Forum, CEOs in attendance from Intermountain Health, Hackensack-Meridian Health, Hartford Healthcare, Main Line Health, and The MetroHealth System will reflect on their efforts and outline opportunities they feel the Council can aid in bending the gun violence curb.

Continuing the much-needed gun violence prevention conversation, Dr. Sathya will speak at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 9, the annual Austin, Texas, conference and festival that brings together international experts and thought leaders from across industries. Dr. Sathya’s panel will feature Benjamin Hoffman, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Mia Tretta, 2019 Saugus High School shooting survivor; and moderated by Fox News Channel’s Alicia Acuna, who made headlines in 2023 when she was reunited with her son, live on-air, during a school shooting evacuation.

For more information about this year’s Gun Violence Prevention Forum program and speakers and to register your virtual attendance, please visit

About Northwell Health

Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals, about 900 outpatient facilities and more than 12,000 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 85,000 employees – 18,900 nurses and 4,900 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit and follow us @NorthwellHealth on Facebook, X, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Matthew Libassi


Matthew Libassi