Palo Alto, California Jun 5, 2022 (Issuewire.com) – On the 8th Annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day and in the wake of devastating acts of gun violence, Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic (SAFE) has made an appeal to medical communities across the United States to take necessary action to mitigate what the organization names a national public-health emergency.
“Firearms are now the leading cause of death of our nation’s children,” said SAFE Board Member Susie MacLean, MD. “The quote, ‘If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’ keeps coming back to me. Physicians cannot be bystanders observing this epidemic. We must be part of the solution.”
SAFE is reaching out today to ask healthcare professionals and medical communities to take immediate and practical actions. The official statement, provided below, urges colleagues to distribute the message and information within medical-school communities.
In addition, SAFE leadership coast to coast is encouraged to organize within their local communities over the next two weeks, whether that be meeting as a regional chapter for an educational event or attending a local demonstration. The emphasis is placed on participating and acknowledging that gun violence is a national epidemic, with the ready-access to assault weapons being a consistent and catastrophic factor.
“I saw firsthand the devastating wounds caused by assault weapons while serving as a flight surgeon during numerous deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said SAFE Co-Founder Dean Winslow, MD. “There is no justification for having these military weapons in the hands of civilians in the U.S. without restriction.”
On June 7 in Washington, DC, SAFE will be participating in an event with the Giffords organization. The press conference will be held on the National Mall at 10:00 a.m. Colleagues and supporters in the greater District of Columbia-area are encouraged to attend. For further information please email [email protected].
A Message to Medical Communities from the SAFE Board of Directors:
SAFE – Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic – was founded to rally the medical community to eliminate firearm violence with the same urgency and dedication that we have applied to exposing other health risks. In the wake of the devastating act of gun violence in Uvalde, we ask the medical community to take action. As doctors, medical students and nurses we devote our lives to the wellbeing of our patients. We have a calling to do our best to save lives. We cannot stand by and observe this senseless loss of life. The Uvalde shooting was the 27th K-12 shooting this year (1). Prior to this was the devastating gun violence in Buffalo and this week our medical community was struck by a mass shooting inside a hospital in Tulsa.
Firearms are now the number-one cause of death of children and teenagers in the United States (2). We have lost 17,217 lives to gun violence in 2022 alone (3). Gun violence is preventable, and it is time for the healthcare community to take action. We must commit ourselves to protecting our patients’ physical and mental health and wellbeing. As we bear witness to the devastation of firearms, we cannot remain silent about the significant danger that gun violence poses to our patients. Together as health professionals we have power to effect change.
So, what do we do? We take action.
- Educate yourself (sample references):
SAFE Physician and Firearm curriculum – available through SAFE
The latest research on gun violence – available through the Giffords Law Center
- Conduct and publish gun violence prevention research: After a 20-year drought of federal funding, gun violence research resumed in 2020 and research centers across the country are starting to study the firearm epidemic. With more research and expanded education we can determine how best to empower our patients with facts and information that allow them to make the most informed decisions surrounding firearms.
- Organize or attend local gun violence prevention community events
- Join or create a local SAFE chapter at your school
Physicians, medical students and nurses are trusted voices in the area of health and safety. It is time for each of us to find our opportunities and become more visible and louder in our support of public policies to reduce firearm harm.
About Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic (SAFE)
Founded in 2020, SAFE is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Palo Alto, California with chapters affiliated and aligned with universities and medical schools across the country. As doctors, nurses, paramedics, medical students and healthcare providers in the United States, we are committed to protecting patients’ physical and mental health and wellbeing. Every day, we use data obtained through rigorous scientific research to counsel our patients about how they can best protect themselves and their families from medical risk. As we bear witness to the devastation of firearms, we cannot remain silent about the significant danger that gun violence poses to our patients.
SAFE is naming gun violence for what it is – a health threat of epidemic proportion – in order to rally the medical community to fight for the interests of our patients. It is time for us to bring the same urgency and dedication to the task of eliminating gun violence as we have to exposing other health risks, such as cigarette smoking. Gun violence threatens personal and public health. Through research, education and support of evidence-backed policy, we can determine how best to empower our patients with facts and information that allow them to make the most informed decisions surrounding firearms.