Last week, hundreds gathered at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children to open up a timely conversation about what doctors and health-care workers can do to help end the vicious cycle of violence that threatens to destroy a generation of young Philadelphians.

Unfortunately, it's the medical community that's most familiar with the fragile face of youth violence. Day in and day out, we see them - the physical and mental scars, the devastated families, the young lives stolen - reminders of a problem seemingly too large to tackle.

Yet, our frustration moved us to take action. We're determined to be agents of change. We are better prepared to take on this public health epidemic and do everything possible to save kids from having to return to a life of worry, fear and violence once they leave the hospital.

This means working with social services, connecting families to critical resources, and linking vulnerable kids to the support and comfort offered by an amazing network of community-based organizations. This means grief counseling, therapy, the safety of an after-school program, the friendship of a mentor. It also means our work as healers has only just begun.

Daniel R. Taylor
Assistant Professor
Drexel University College of Medicine
Director
Community Pediatrics and Child Advocacy
St. Christopher's Hospital for Children
Philadelphia