The Ad Council, Coalition of Health Systems and Hospitals Tackle Gun Violence

By Kyle O'Brien 

There seem to be mass shootings nearly every week, and today at Northwell Health’s 5th annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum, the Ad Council announced a new gun violence prevention initiative in collaboration with a coalition of health care leaders to address this urgent public health crisis and its impact on youth.

The Ad Council will lead the development of this new campaign, funded by members of the National Health Care CEO Council on Gun Violence Prevention and Safety. This group represents some of the nation’s largest health systems and hospitals that are providing funding, strategic insight and issue expertise on gun violence prevention for the campaign.

An initial donation of $10 million is the seed of a greater $40 million fundraising goal over the next two years to support the effort’s plans to reduce firearm deaths and injuries in the United States.


A recent analysis of CDC data by KFF shows that firearm injuries have been the leading cause of death among children and teens for three consecutive years. Additionally, in August 2023, Northwell Health researchers published a study in the American Academy of Pediatrics journal that reported 4,752 pediatric firearm deaths in 2021, a number that reflects a 41.6% increase from 2018 to 2021. A major focus of the campaign’s messaging will be on promoting prevention strategies to curtail gun violence and its impact on youth.

In collaboration with the National Health Care CEO Council on Gun Violence Prevention and Safety, the Ad Council is convening a broad coalition across the advertising, healthcare, marketing, media and tech industries to develop this new initiative with pro-bono support from creative agency Gut Miami. The campaign seeks to elevate the issue of gun violence in America and its impact on youth, shifting away from divisive, politically charged conversations to those focused on public health approaches that have proven effective in combating this epidemic.

With data-driven strategies and expert insights, the campaign will provide people throughout the country with a deeper understanding of the individual actions both gun owners and non-gun owners can take in their homes and communities to protect our nation’s youth and save lives.

“Gun injuries are the number one killer of youth in America, a fact that demands action. But it’s an issue that cannot be confronted by just one organization alone,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council in a statement. “American hospitals deal with the ramifications of gun violence every day and we’re proud to partner with our nation’s leading hospitals and health systems, public health experts and some of the best minds in the media and advertising communities to educate individuals on actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of gun violence and make our children, communities and nation safer. Together, we can address this issue head on and reposition it as what this truly is: a public health crisis that impacts us all.”

Lead funding for the new national project spearheaded by the Ad Council has been provided by BJC Health System, Froedtert ThedaCare Health, Intermountain Health, Johns Hopkins Medicine, MedStar Health and Northwell Health. Significant funding has also been provided by Children’s Hospital Association, Endeavor Health and Yale New Haven Health.

The new initiative builds on the success of existing efforts, activations and campaigns from these health systems and hospitals. All funds raised for this new $40 million initiative go toward the research, development and creation of campaign assets.

To further ensure all campaign communications are evidenced-based, the Ad Council has convened an issue advisory council comprised of subject-matter experts in gun violence prevention.