Sandy Hook Father to Give Keynote Address at Ohio AAP Annual Meeting

Columbus, OHIO – The Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (Ohio AAP) is honored to announce that Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) representative Mark Barden will give the keynote address at the 2016 Annual Meeting on Friday, September 23, 2016. Barden, whose 7-year-old son, Daniel, was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, is a co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization led by several family members who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook. The organization’s mission is to prevent gun-related deaths through education, partnerships and advocacy.

“There are approximately 500,000 acts of gun violence in the United States each year, with approximately 30,000 adults and children dying from homicide, suicide or unintentional death,” said SHP Managing Director, Mark Barden. “Knowing how to recognize those who are at risk of hurting themselves or others, and how to intervene, is the first step to preventing these tragedies from occurring.”

SHP implements four research-based prevention programs that focus on “knowing the signs” to teach adults and youth how to identify, intervene and get help for individuals before they hurt themselves or others. These four programs are available at no cost to schools and youth organizations and can be delivered in-person, via SHP’s certified Promise Presenters or self-led by schools or youth leaders. Below is the list of programs and their descriptions:

  1. Say Something™: This program was developed in collaboration with leading violence prevention researchers and educators. Its goal is to teach youth how to recognize signs and signals, especially within social media, of an individual who may be a threat to themselves or others and urges them to say something to a trusted adult before a tragedy takes place.
  2. Youth Mental Health First Aid™: This program teaches adults how to identify, intervene and get help for youth who may be in mental health crisis or displaying at-risk behavior before they hurt themselves or others. It was created by the National Council for Behavioral Health.
  3. Start With Hello™: By teaching youth how to be more inclusive and connected to one another, this program works to minimize social isolation, marginalization and rejection before an individual chooses to hurt themselves or others.
  4. Safety Assessment & Intervention™: Developed by Dr. Dewey Cornell at the University of Virginia, this program teaches adults in schools and youth organizations how to identify, assess and respond to threats of violence or at-risk behavior before a tragedy takes place.

“In Ohio alone, Sandy Hook Promise has protected, trained and empowered more than 300,000 young people to Know the Signs and prevent violence before it takes place, stopping a school shooting, three suicides and multiple gun threats in schools over the past year,” said Melissa Wervey Arnold, CEO of the Ohio AAP. “The Ohio AAP is proud to partner with SHP to not only help get these programs implemented in more Ohio schools and youth organizations, but also to educate health care providers about these incredibly valuable resources, so that fewer parents have to experience the tragic loss of a child.”

Ohio AAP’s annual meeting will be held September 23-24 at the Crowne Plaza in Dublin. The keynote address will begin Friday, September 23 at 9:30 a.m. during which President-Elect Michael Gittelman, MD, FAAP will present the 2016 Community Partner Award to Sandy Hook Promise for uniting those concerned about child safety and violence prevention. The Community Partner award honors a partnership that aligns with the Ohio AAP mission of improving the health and safety of Ohio’s children and adolescents. The keynote address is open to the public free of charge.

The Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Ohio AAP) promotes the health, safety and well-being of children and adolescents so they may reach their full potential. The Ohio AAP works to accomplish this by addressing the needs of children, their families, and their communities, and by supporting Chapter members through advocacy, education, research, and improving the systems through which they deliver pediatric care.


MEDIA CONTACT: Melanie Farkas, 614-846-6258,