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Peter T. Masiakos, MD, MS and Cornelia Griggs, MD
Peter T. Masiakos, MD, MS and Cornelia Griggs, MD
2021 Winners:
Peter T. Masiakos, MD, MS

Co-director, Mass General Hospital Center for Gun Violence Prevention
Director, Pediatric Trauma Services, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Cornelia Griggs, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School


Gretchen Felopulos, PhD
Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, MGH

Matthew W. Zackoff, MD, Med
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Francis Joseph Real, MD, Med
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center


Developing and evaluating an avatar/virtual reality-based gun violence prevention training program for clinicians

On November 7, 2018, the National Rifle Association (NRA) used social media to mock the medical community’s commitment to ending gun violence and tweeted, “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane.” Shortly thereafter, doctors, nurses, and other clinicians responded with images and stories emphasizing that gun violence prevention was indeed within a clinician’s lane—perhaps even more so than that of policy makers.

Whether treating victims of gun violence, managing infectious complications of wounds, rehabilitating patients with spinal cord injuries, or caring for people suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, clinicians made clear that gun violence touches almost every arena of healthcare.

Beyond social media, medical organizations across fields of practice urged their members to counsel patients about firearm safety. Despite increasingly loud and public declarations that physicians had a role to play in addressing this public health crisis, in practice, many clinicians are disengaged or disempowered. In truth, practical and tangible tools for incorporating gun violence prevention into clinical care have not been clearly defined.

Building on a novel hospital-based simulation curriculum that trains every entering intern in all residency programs, to become facile with important injury prevention conversations, the next phase is to develop a benchmarked and broadly scalable gun violence prevention program curriculum for healthcare workers. With Stepping Strong funding, Masiakos’ team aims to develop a novel avatar/virtual reality platform to expand and improve on the current patient-actor based curriculum.


Peter T. Masiakos, MS, MD, FACS, FAAP, is the director of Pediatric Trauma Services at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for Children and co-director of the MGH Center for Gun Violence Prevention. Trained at Boston City Hospital and Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto), he developed a clinical interest in pediatric trauma care and injury prevention. He is the director of the Pediatric Trauma Surgery service at MGH and has become a vocal injury prevention advocate. Masiakos has established strong relationships with state, federal, and international legislators to enact 11 injury prevention laws, including ATV laws, junior-driver laws, child-restraint laws, and gun safety laws. He has testified before the Massachusetts State Legislature, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Congress on the importance of legislation that prevents childhood injuries. Masiakos has been recognized for his injury prevention work and was awarded the Arthur Ellenberger Award for State Grassroots Advocacy by the American College of Surgeons.

Harnessing the Tools of Public Health to Prevent Gun Violence: A Conversation with Cornelia Griggs, MD

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