Updates from the President

 

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The IAAH calls on the international community to guarantee

student safety in school

26-March-2018

The International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH) sends its condolences to all the American families and communities that have been affected by school shootings. No family should ever have to send their sons and daughters to their place of learning with an ever-constant threat of death and disability, especially not when there are evidence-based gun control strategies that have been implemented in many other countries, resulting in no further incidents. Such strategies make these deaths and injuries entirely preventable.

We and others note that the most dignified and articulate commentary about the Parkland shooting has been from the students themselves. Their commitment and eloquence, borne out of grief and outrage, has shown the international community the power and capabilities of young people and the bright future this world should have in their hands. As they participated in ‘March for Our Lives’ on Saturday 24th March, many cities around the world also hosted events to show their solidarity with US youth, their families and the growing numbers of individuals and organizations who are already taking action. Hopefully this will sustain a momentum that can only sensibly conclude with legislative reform.

But in situations like these, the context of the power imbalance between the people and the Government is all too clear. US high school students cannot vote, and they do not control large corporations or lobby groups. The inability of the US Government to act swiftly and decisively – which was what happened in countries like Australia and the UK after one tragic school shooting – belies a deadly web of self-interest and misplaced ideology among a powerful minority.

The majority of the US population favours a change to the gun control laws. It is apparent, however, that wider action and pressure will be needed to counter the inability of the US government to appropriately protect its children and youth from gun-related harms.

As an international body, we deplore the suffering of children and young people in areas ravaged by war and civil unrest. Many young people are killed and maimed whilst they try to continue their lives and their education; many others are co-opted as agents of war. We know that participation in secondary education itself is a strong determinant of the best health outcomes for young people. Ensuring student safety from all forms of harm at school should be among the highest priorities for governments, communities and families.

IAAH calls upon the international community to exert every influence that it can to guarantee student safety at school in every country. At this time, we particularly call on the US Government to reform its gun control laws in line with best evidence from other countries.  No measure should be deemed beyond consideration to assist the majority of the US population – including its amazing youth – to destroy the current gridlock that has prevented reforming laws around gun control. We commend the US Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) on its powerful statement to support ‘March for Our Lives’, and its members’ commitment to serving all youth and families affected through clinical care, research and advocacy. 

Susan Sawyer
IAAH President

Nicola Gray & Asha Pemberton-Gaskin
IAAH Communications Committee Leads

Haga clic aquí para una versión en español.

 

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Thank you for joining us for the 11th World Congress on Adolescent Health! 

To access all speaker presentations, Congress program booklets,

abstract booklets, videos, and other items, please click the link below.

 

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11th World Congress on Adolescent Health

Investing in Adolescent Health - the Future is Now

27-29 October, 2017 | New Delhi, India

www.iaah2017congress.org 

 

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 Dr. Susan Sawyer, IAAH President 2017-2021

  

Susan Sawyer is an Australian adolescent physician who holds the Geoff and Helen Handbury Chair of Adolescent Health at the University of Melbourne and is the Director of the, Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She has helped establish the field of Adolescent Health and Medicine in Australia, the Asia Pacific region, and increasingly further afield through her research, teaching and training, and advocacy efforts. A paediatrician by training, she has a particular interest in models of health services for adolescents, including the role of schools, primary care and specialist services. She has published over 200 peer review publications, over 30 book chapters and an edited textbook on adolescent health and medicine. She has co-led two series on adolescent health for The Lancet (2007, 2012), and was a lead Commissioner for the 2016 Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. Professor Sawyer chaired the World Health Organisation’s Technical Steering Committee for Maternal Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (2011-16), and has had advisory/consultancy roles with WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank. Recent capacity building activities include the development of the first Massive Open Online Course on Global Adolescent Health. She has been actively engaged in various professional organisations supporting adolescent health and medicine, including the Australian Association of Adolescent Health and the US Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, from which she has just stepped down as a member of the board (2014-16). She has previously been a vice president for IAAH (Oceania, 2009-2016), having chaired the scientific committee for the 9th World Congress on Adolescent Health in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


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