More than 45 students at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy held an event Feb. 28 to support Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed by a gunman on Feb. 14. Participants signed a large banner and made smaller posters, all held aloft in a photo to be sent to the high school. Their message: “Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue.”
Lending support were School of Pharmacy Dean Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP; Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, CGP, BCACP, FAPhA, associate dean for student affairs; Andrew Coop, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs, and Andrew Wherley, president of the school’s Student Government Association.
The show of solidarity was one of a series of #WhiteCoatsAgainstGunViolence events nationally being organized by students in the health care professions who attended the high school. They include Allison Cowett, who graduated in 2011 and is a third-year student at the School of Pharmacy.
“I hold these memories of MSD dear to my heart,” Cowett told the gathering, describing a huge campus with a close-knit, actively involved student and parent community that had helped shape her.
Cowett’s remarks in the school’s atrium came on the same day that students were allowed to return to class at the Florida school. Cowett told the gathering: “We hope you think about Marjory Stoneman Douglas today and think about how you can advocate for change.”
Among actions that academics might support is reversing the Dickey Amendment of 1996 that restricts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching the impact of gun violence. She urged her peers to attend the “March For Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C., on March 24.
Cowett was preparing an entry for the Inside SOP blog about her advocacy on behalf of MSD and in collaboration with her former classmates who have organized #WhiteCoatsAgainstGunViolence events at other universities.
At UMB, President Jay A. Perman, MD, sent an open letter to the University on Feb. 19 welcoming ideas “on how we might focus our research and teaching here at UMB to take up this fight against gun violence.”
— Patricia Fanning