Polk County Health Department and Partners Come Together to Address Gun Violence

Published 8/1/2023 8:44:44 AM

(Des Moines, IA) – Polk County Health Department (PCHD) will hold a press conference to address gun violence as a public health issue on Tuesday, August 1 at 11:00 AM at the Emergency Operation Center at 1907 Carpenter Avenue, Des Moines.

“We talk about car seat safety and the importance of wearing bicycle helmets, yet we haven’t talked about gun safety. Gun injuries are now a leading cause of death for children and young adults in Polk County. It is more important than ever, that we come together to improve the safety, health, and wellbeing of our children,” said Helen Eddy, Director of PCHD.

PCHD’s prevention approach includes normalizing conversations about gun safety and safe storage among family and friends. It is important to talk about gun safety in relation to places where a child or young adult may spend time. This approach also includes conversations about safe firearm storage during physician visits, and increasing access to safe storage devices, such as trigger locks. Free trigger locks are available for pick up at PCHD and law enforcement agencies. Visit PCHD’s website to see pick up sites.

“Regardless of your stance on guns, they are a part of our lives and there are important steps you can take as a parent to prevent accidents from happening. The Polk County Health Department and our healthcare partners have created an awareness campaign based on simple conversations and questions that you can have regarding the environment your children will be in. We are happy to support this campaign and hopeful that it can prevent gun injuries and deaths among our youth,” states Tom Hockensmith, Polk County Board Chair for Polk County Board of Supervisors.

Speakers for the press conference include:

  • Helen Eddy, Director of Polk County Health Department
  • Angela Connolly, District 5 Supervisor, Polk County Board of Supervisors
  • Dr. Jessica Zuzga-Reed, MercyOne Des Moines Associate Chief Medical Officer and Pediatric Intensivist
  • Dr. Eric Haugen, Medical Director of General Pediatrics, Blank Children’s Hospital, UnityPoint Health

Parking instructions for the press conference can be found here. Facebook Live Stream will be available here.


Polk County Health Department strives to create the conditions for all people to live healthy lives by engaging residents, reducing health disparities and attending to the needs of our most vulnerable families.
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