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Comer Children's doctor, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin call for federal research funding into gun violence

January 18, 2016

A University of Chicago Medicine physician Catherine Humikowski joined U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., at a press conference Jan. 14 as he continued to push for federal funding for research into the causes and implications of gun violence.

Humikowski, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago and medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at its Comer Children's Hospital, wrote a moving editorial in the Chicago Tribune this fall. In it, she shared observations on the devastating impact of gun violence through the eyes of a physician in the South Side's only pediatric level 1 trauma center.

"Unlike other diseases we commonly treat in the intensive care unit where I work, this affliction has no cure," said Humikowski. "We have a public responsibility to keep our children healthy and safe. We can't do this if we don't understand how. It's time to resume real research so that we can work toward a cure."

So far in 2016, more than 150 shootings have been reported in the Chicago. In 2015, there were almost 3,000 shootings and 468 fatalities, according to data tracked by The Chicago Tribune. At Comer Children's Hospital, 39 children were treated for gunshot wounds in 2015 at the facility's Level 1trauma center.

Humikowski has received tremendous response from residents, health care providers and public officials from the essay since it was published in October.

Durbin held the press conference at the KLEO community center in the South Side's Washington Park neighborhood a week after President Barack Obama announced executive action to strengthen gun control laws. Durbin is fighting to reverse a little-known provision that limits funding for federal health research into gun violence.

Other speakers at Thursday's press conference included Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran, KLEO's executive director Rev. Torrey Barrett, and Pam Bosley, who lost her son to violence in 2006. Bosley went on to be the co-founder of Purpose Over Pain, an organization that advocates for stricter gun control and provides support for parents of murdered children.

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