Fatimah Loren Dreier (Muhammad) ’22 was among a group of advocates of reducing gun violence who attended the April 8 White House Rose Garden press event where President Joseph Biden announced executive actions to address the issue.
Dreier, a student in the Yale School of Management’s MBA for Executives program, is executive director of the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, which trains hospitals to address cyclical violence in communities of color.
“It was striking to me that President Biden explicitly stated that homicide is the leading cause of death for Black boys and men ages 15 to 34,” said Dreier, who also met with Biden and Vice President Kalama Harris in the Oval Office on April 8.
“I don’t think many people understand the magnitude of this health issue, even those in healthcare,” Dreier said. “[Biden] made a compelling argument for why he wants to invest in targeted strategies: ‘For a fraction of the cost of gun violence, we can save lives, create safe and healthy communities, and build economies that work for all of us, and save billions of American dollars.’”
At the event, Biden outlined actions to regulate certain firearms as part of an effort to prevent further gun violence after a recent rash of mass shootings. In addition to advocates and lawmakers, Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland were also on hand.
In February, Dreier was part of a group of African American and Latino leaders invited to a meeting with Director of Domestic Policy Susan Rice to discuss public health approaches to gun violence in communities of color.
“I briefed White House staff on the power of upstream interventions that not only help reduce violence, but also help those at greatest risk secure stable employment and thriving lives,” Dreier said. “Susan Rice and the other White House officials in attendance were extremely receptive to our recommendations.”
Dreier said that Biden’s executive actions represent concrete steps to address gun violence. She applauded the $5 billion commitment to the issue in Biden’s American Jobs Plan, and the additional $10 billion in funding to focus on strategies that support efforts to address root causes of the issue, such as hospital-based violence intervention.
“By providing mental health access, employment, and crisis management support for those at greatest risk of violence, we have an opportunity to transform communities and reduce violence,” Dreier said. “It’s a practical, upstream investment, and we’re excited to work with the federal government to see this fully realized.”