Suicide Prevention Ambassador Program

Gary Krigsman, MD, FAAP

Gary Krigsman, MD, FAAP

Gary Krigsman, MD, FAAP, is a school health/public health pediatrician, now retired after a career of 30+ years with the NYC Office of School Health. He is the NYS AAP Chapter 2 Suicide Prevention Ambassador.

In mid-February, you may have read an introduction regarding the Suicide Prevention Ambassador Program, in the “Chapter 2 Upcoming Events” newsletter emailed out to Chapter 2 members.

The 20 AAP chapters, that have been selected to participate in Cohort 1 of the Suicide Prevention Ambassador Program, are now in the process of initiating implementation of their individual “action plans,” in collaboration with their partners from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).  Each chapter was asked to submit “an action plan” that included at least one goal in each of 5 different sections.  The five sections are: 1) Health Equity, 2) Policy and Advocacy, 3) Community, 4) Communication and Media, 5) Sustainability.

The NYS Chapter 2 goals for each respective section are as follows:

  • Health Equity: Implementing the AFSP’s “Talk Saves Lives” program which involves presentations for high-risk communities. We will attempt to reach out to healthcare facilities with special services for the LGBTQIA+ community and bring this special program to them. We may consider presentations in other languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Korean, etc. We will be working closely with our AFSP partners to carry out this goal.  If you work with an LGBTQIA+ adolescent population and would be interested in bringing this presentation to your community (providers, staff and patients) please reach out and contact me at
  • Policy and Advocacy: Creating a standing suicide prevention column/article in each periodic chapter newsletter.
  • Community: Collaborating with schools and school districts to gather information re: mental health services available on-site in specific schools or linked with specific schools and disseminating that information to pediatric providers in an effort to increase awareness re: mental health services available in their patients’ schools.
  • Communication and Media: Creating a suicide prevention specific page on the chapter website.
  • Sustainability: Including resource information regarding suicide prevention in Chapter new member materials; in addition to continuing to carry out goals 1, 2 and 3.

We and our AFSP counterparts are looking forward to collaborating on implementation of these goals throughout 2023. During that time we will participate in monthly ECHO meetings, coordinated by Kristen Kaseeska, Suicide Prevention Manager at AAP.  These meetings will consist of a didactic presentation, in addition to a presentation by a selected chapter regarding their experience achieving their stated goals.  The session allows for feedback and open discussion from other chapters.

I look forward to writing future articles for the Chapter Newsletter focusing on topics of special interest related to suicide prevention, as well as sharing useful resource information.