MSU hosts first Remembrance Conference with University at Buffalo to address gun violence

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Due to a shared experience of gun violence in their communities, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo partnered to host the inaugural Remembrance Conference to address firearm violence through a public health approach.  

The goal of the conference was to develop teams of medical students and faculty to engage in conversations, curriculum and programming that employs a public health approach to reduce firearm injuries and fatalities. Participants from over a dozen medical schools across the nation heard from medical and trauma experts, government officials discussing advocacy, medical students leading efforts and physician attendees sharing personal stories. 

The conference came together after MSU College of Human Medicine Dean Aron Sousa connected with Allison Brashear, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, at a national conference in March 2023. It was during a session on gun violence where both connected due to shared experiences of gun violence at their institutions. From there, each school sent students and faculty to visit the other to collaborate on conference programming.  

“We realized that if our two medical schools were going to get together, it would be more powerful and more interesting to invite other schools to be with us. So, we took that concept to the Association of American Medical Colleges,” Sousa said. “I think it was an opportunity for us to help a group of interested students and faculty develop experience and skills and go back to their institution to work on curriculum and advocacy.”  

The conference, also hosted in conjunction with the association, was held on campus at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center Feb. 11 to Feb. 13. The Jacobs School will host the next conference in Buffalo in May 2025. 

“Gun violence is a public health concern,” Brashear said. “Our key takeaway is for gun education around the epidemic of gun violence as a public health issue to be something that is top of mind for medical schools who are in charge of education and research in this important area.”   

This conference did not just focus on research but included programming on the education of preparing medical students, faculty and medical schools to take this public health approach.  

Notable speakers included: Roger Mitchell, professor and chief medical officer of Howard University; Dean Winslow, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Stanford University; and Annie Andrews, clinical professor of pediatrics at George Washington School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., among others. Additionally, MSU leaders and medical students joined panels. 

The conference also offered interactive elements. Participants had the opportunity to test their advocacy pitches with Michigan state representatives and senators, as well as practice providing patient-care support. 

Attendees were also able to share their own experiences and reflect during a luminary lighting led by Pastor Kinzer Pointer, who leads a church in Buffalo. 

“Remembrance is a powerful way to help people focus and understand why something is important,” Sousa said. “We focused on remembrance in this conference because remembering is how we interpret and create meaning from our experiences. This is why it is so important we remember the people who have died or been injured by gun violence.”  

The hope for the future is this conference will expand to a national level — with more awareness and participation of medical schools — to spread the work of public health approaches.  


Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 165 years. One of the world’s leading public research universities, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery to make a better, safer, healthier world for all while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 400 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges. 

MSU College of Human Medicine

For 60 years, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine has drawn upon MSU’s land grant values to educate exemplary physicians, discover and disseminate new knowledge and respond to the needs of the medically underserved in communities throughout Michigan. The medical school’s statewide footprint includes eight community-integrated campuses: Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Midland Regional, Southeast Michigan, Traverse City, and the Upper Peninsula Region. MSU’s Grand Rapids Research Center has centers of excellence in Parkinson’s disease research and women’s health research. The college’s Flint campus is home to MSU’s public health program. For more information, visit

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