School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: I Had a Life-Enriching Experience at the Lake Nona Impact Forum


The Lake Nona Impact Forum (LNIF) is an annual gathering of the nation’s leading health care innovators, scientists, thought leaders and CEO’s to share deep discussions about the latest advancements in health and wellness. I was invited to participate this year to share my work as a school nurse and family member of survivors and victims of gun violence. It was a life-enriching experience, one that fed my love of learning and gave me further inspiration to continue the work I have been doing in gun violence prevention. 

The Lake Nona Impact Forum is committed to leading the conversation for building the Wellbeing Ecosystem of the Future, by exploring the intersections of health, wellness, medical and scientific innovation and strategies to optimize human performance.

LNIF is not a conference, it truly is a conversation, actually dozens of conversations, about what is possible in healthcare, science, art, music and human design to improve the wellbeing of our world. These conversations happen through panel discussions, but also through smaller, more intimate discussions throughout the course of three days centered on healing and learning. 

Here is a link to the LNIF 2023 speakers: Lake Nona Impact Forum 2023 SPEAKERS

This year LNIF, included a conversation about gun violence through a public health lens. What an honor to be invited to join three brilliant colleagues dedicated to gun violence prevention to hold a powerful discussion about the impact of gun violence, as well as solutions to this seemingly intractable issue. Once again, I have to point out the power of social media, because without the relationships and connections I made on Twitter, participating in this life-enriching event would have never been possible. Here is our team, pediatric trauma surgeon, Dr. Peter Masiakos, Former Surgeon General (also trained as a nurse), Dr. Richard Carmona, Chaplain Clementina Chery and our moderator, Co-anchor of Nightline, JuJu Chang. I have the deepest respect, admiration and appreciation for our team and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be together in real life to share LNIF 2023. 

It has been barely 48 hours since our conversation and I am still processing the experience. What I know is that we were all moved to tears, panelists and delegates alike, from the stories we shared. Our collective experiences of the pain and frustration of the escalating gun violence in our country was palpable. There is hope though, that through conversations like the one that was held and certainly the ones that follow will lead to a sea change in treating gun violence as a public health crisis. If we cannot take meaningful action while gun violence is the leading cause of death of children and teens, then who are we as a nation? There are innovative solutions to gun violence happening across the country. Participating in the Lake Nona Impact Forum allowed our team to share a glimpse of what is possible.

Our conversation was introduced with a brief clip from the documentary, Quiet Rooms, created through a collaboration called Transforming Narratives about Gun Violence Initiative (TNG) between Mass General Hospital Gun Violence Prevention Center, Emory University Engagement Lab and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.

This 20-minute documentary about the impacts and root causes of gun violence was co-created by Emerson students and community members. The bracingly honest interviews featured in this piece reflect the trust in process that was made possible through truly collaborative work. The “direct animation” or painted film strips seen throughout the film were created by students and partners in response to the prompt: “represent how you feel when you think about gun violence in your life and in your community.” The result is visually stunning and emotionally charged transitions throughout. – retrieved from

I am moved and inspired to continue this work and look forward to sharing outcomes to some of the projects that I am working on, including a new curriculum for school nurses to learn about gun violence prevention and hold courageous conversations about safe gun storage. There is hope for a future that centers the safety and well-being of our children, families and communities. 

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