ACP and Other Health Care Groups Join Forces With the White House to Curb Gun Violence

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During a June 6 event at the White House, health care professionals came together to advocate for measures to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths

June 21, 2024 (ACP) -- The American College of Physicians and other health care organizations are teaming up with the White House to prevent firearm-related injuries and save lives.

June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, and the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention hosted "White Coats at the White House" for doctors, nurses and emergency responders, including representatives from ACP, Doctors for America, the American College of Emergency Physicians, Health Alliance for Violence Prevention, American College of Preventive Medicine and American Geriatrics Society, among others.

"The focus of the meeting was to highlight the role of health professionals in efforts to reduce gun-related injuries and fatalities and to advocate at the highest level for measures that can reduce gun violence and injury in our communities," said Dr. Isaac Opole, president of ACP, who attended the event on behalf of ACP.

"Our coalition of health care professionals wanted to reach outside our clinics, emergency rooms and hospitals into the White House and legislative chambers to bring our stories and real-life experiences with the results of gun violence to light," he said.

The White House pledged to push for and expand a variety of legislative and policy actions aimed at reducing firearm-related injury across America and to work closely with health care professionals to promote a scientific, evidence-based public health approach to firearm-related injury prevention, according to Opole.

In addition to White Coats at the White House on June 7, the White House hosted about 80 executives from health systems and hospitals on June 6 to discuss taking a public health approach to preventing firearm-related injuries and deaths.

This event marks the first time that the White House has ever convened health systems and hospitals to discuss public health solutions to prevent firearm-related injuries and deaths.

Reducing firearm-related injuries and death has long been at the top of the ACP advocacy priority list. "We as physicians have firsthand experience with the devastating impact of firearms violence," Opole said. "We care for the victims, console the families and deal with the long-term sequelae. We have a responsibility to be part of the solution in trying to mitigate these needless tragedies. "

ACP has published recommendations aimed at reducing firearm-related deaths and injuries and has voiced support for laws that would reduce gun violence-related deaths.

"As caregivers for the victims of firearm-related death, injury and disability, this is not just our lane, but our superhighway," Opole said.

Every ACP member can do something to reduce firearm violence, starting by speaking to patients about firearms and firearm-related injuries.

"We can counsel patients on the risk of having firearms in the home and how things like safe storage can help mitigate that risk," Opole suggested.

ACP offers resources for physicians, including a video on talking to patients about firearm safety. "We have also published resources for education on physician-to-physician and physician-to-patient conversations," he said. "We also encourage our members and other health care professionals to actively engage in the legislative process and have published a toolkit for ACP chapters and groups wishing to engage in state-level advocacy on this issue."

More Information

The toolkit, "Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths," is available on the ACP website. Physicians can also visit to take the Health Care Professionals Pledge to commit to talking with patients about firearm safety.

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