Subject: From a school shooting to delayed interventions – our experiences inspire us

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 From a school shooting to a nearly missed intervention, our personal stories inspire our work
In Bountiful, Utah, on Dec. 1, 2016, a young boy fired a gun into a classroom full of middle school science students. No one was physically injured, but there were other kinds of injuries.

Aliza, the daughter of NICHQ Project Director Colleen Murphy, MSMOB, was in that classroom. And the shooter was one of Aliza’s friends. That day changed everything for Aliza and Colleen.

Before the shooting, Aliza played sports, excelled at theater and music, and had a vibrant social life. Now, nearly 18 months later, she struggles to cope with severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite regular therapy sessions, she missed 21 school days in the first half of this year alone.

Colleen and her daughter now know too well how much social-emotional health matters. It’s what inspires Colleen to seek systems-level solutions that support health holistically. Because improving those systems will not only support her daughter’s health but could have changed the shooter’s life. 

Meghan and her family
When NICHQ’s Director of Programs’ second son was just six months old, she began to wonder if something might be wrong.

“Evan was late to some important early developmental milestones, like rolling over. We worried he was falling behind, especially a few months later when he didn’t start to crawl,” Meghan Johnson, MSc, explains. “As soon as I started wondering if something might be wrong, I started asking questions. As someone who works in maternal and child health, I know how important those early years are for child development; I knew I had to speak up.”

Johnson did speak up; she and her husband spoke up over and over again for the next 18 months so that Evan could get the care he needed. Care that should never have been so hard to receive. Her experience is one that every mother, father and caregiver understands: it’s the story of a parent trying to do what’s best for their child in the face of life’s complications. It’s also a story that reveals why so many of us are invested in improving children’s health systems and uncomplicating what we can.

Read her full story here

Enjoy this video where they share how their experiences inspire their work. Because for us, this work is personal.
Mothers video
Learn more about NICHQ’s current initiatives, capabilities and how we partner with mission-aligned organizations to drive change to improve children’s health at
National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ), 30 Winter Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02108, United States
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