OHSU, PSU to host forum discussing gun violence as a public heal - KPTV - FOX 12

OHSU, PSU to host forum discussing gun violence as a public health issue

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Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University will be hosting a free forum discussing gun violence as a public health issue.

One Portland mother said the issue is very close to her heart.

FOX 12 spoke with Kimberley Dixon who lost her son to gun violence a few years ago. She said she was playing kickball with her family that day and was waiting for her son to arrive but he never did.

"My daughter-in-law called out to me and she said 'mom,' and I hear mom all the time so I think I was laughing about something, and she finally just said 'Kim, Andreas has been shot.' And the world pretty much stopped moving at that moment," said Kimberley Dixon.

Andreas Dixon was shot and killed as he stood outside of the Rockwood Station Apartments in Gresham on June 9, 2013.

An arrest was eventually made in the case, but Kimberley says the grief never goes away.

According to Oregon Health Authority, one Oregonian dies every single day due to gun violence, and in this state, around 80 percent are suicides.

Leaders at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health say gun violence is a preventable public health issue. They say people need to look at the broader context - the political, social and economic conditions that lead to gun violence - so that as a community we can do something about it.

"To really address that, it is going to take a long time to make strides. In order to do that you have to have whole people and so part of that process entails healing. We have to heal, we have to be hopeful and then we can move forward in taking on these larger challenges," said Dr. Ryan Petteway, assistant professor at OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.

The forum will be held April 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Highland Christian Center on Northeast 76th and Glisan. The forum is free, lunch will be provided and childcare is available.

This is the second of three forums on this issue. The next one will be in May for leaders in business and government.

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