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    Doctors Against Handgun Injury

    December 15, 2003

    DAHI E-News

    DECEMBER 2003

    Attention members of Doctors Against Handgun Injury’s online Physician Network! Welcome to DAHI E-News. This newsletter will provide you with the latest developments in handgun injury prevention, including news, educational efforts and policy issues. DAHI is committed to encouraging and enabling physicians to get involved in gun injury prevention efforts both in the clinical and public settings. Following are updates on DAHI’s core projects, and ideas on how you can get involved.

    IN THIS ISSUE:

    • Sign the “Letter from America’s Health Care Providers” asking your members of Congress to support the “Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003” (H.R. 2038/S. 1431).
    • Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy was a featured speaker at DAHI’s November Member’s Meeting.
    • The Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the California Assault Weapon Ban.
    • The HELP Network invites you to its 8th Annul Conference: Defining a Medical Standard of Care for Gun Injury Prevention.
    • Join DAHI’s Speakers Bureau.
    • Reminder: Physician Kits available.
    • Tell a colleague about the Physician Network.

    Assault Weapons Ban Physician Sign-on Letter

    DAHI staff has teamed up with our member organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, to create a letter for physicians to sign asking their members of Congress to support the “Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003” (H.R. 2038/S. 1431). Our goal is to get at least 500 physicians, and other health professionals – we have 160 - to sign the “Letter from America’s Health Care Providers” so we can deliver it to Congress and show our elected officials that the medical community is concerned about the availability of assault weapons in America.

    ACTION:

    To sign onto the letter, visit the Physicians for Social Responsibility website.

    Congresswoman McCarthy speaks at DAHI’s November Members Meeting

    On November 11, DAHI hosted its fifth Members Meeting to discuss the activities DAHI current and planned activities. Among the topics discussed at the meeting were DAHI’s work on the Assault Weapons Ban and the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). To talk about what Congress is doing to reauthorize and strengthen the Assault Weapons Ban Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) spoke to the group about the political climate on Capitol Hill with respect to firearm injury prevention, with a particular focus on her bill, the “Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003” (H.R.2038), which DAHI has been actively advocating.

    In her remarks to the members, Congresswoman McCarthy suggested planning a weeklong effort designed to activate health care providers to take action on gun injury prevention. The members discussed the possibilities and agreed that DAHI staff should look into organizing such an event. The week's activities could include physicians contacting President Bush or their lawmakers in support of policy, speaking with their patients about the dangers of having guns in the home, and seeking speaking opportunities on the issue in local and community forums.

    During the second half of the meeting, Dr. Deborah Azrael, Ph.D. from the Harvard School of Public Health presented the newest suicide data that has emerged from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). In response to her presentation, DAHI members discussed the need to address firearm suicide in the clinical setting, and approved a plan for DAHI to a) create a monograph on suicide risk recognition and b) to commission and submit for publication manuscripts on firearm suicide in the geriatric, pediatric and general populations. The monograph will help non-psychiatric physicians know "when to wonder" if a patient is experiencing suicide ideation and how to intervene. DAHI's plans to address suicide are rooted in the fact that most suicides in America are committed with firearms, and the bulk of all firearm deaths are suicides.

    If you are interested in receiving a copy of Dr. Azrael’s presentation, email Arinn Dixon Widmayer at.

    The Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the CA Assault Weapons Ban

    On December 3, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case of Silveira v. Lockyey, in which a group of California residents challenged the state’s assault weapons ban on the basis that it violated their Second Amendment right to own a gun. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that “the Second Amendment guarantees the collective right of the people to maintain effective state militias, but does not provide any type of individual right to own or possess weapons.” With the Supreme Court refusing to hear the case, the collective rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, which has been in place since 1939, is maintained.

    HELP Network 8th Annual Conference

    The HELP Network will be holding its 8th Annual Conference, Defining a Medical Standard of Care for Gun Injury Prevention April 16-18, 2004 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Some of the topics that will be discussed at the conference are:

     

    • Medical education and clinical counseling on gun injury prevention
    • Routine clinical counseling on the risks of guns in the home, utilizing available resources, with special attention to issues such as depression, domestic violence and child access to guns
    • Consensus on gun violence prevention among the national medical professional societies such as the AMA, AAP, and ACP

     

    For more information about the HELP conference, click here.

    Join DAHI’s Speakers Bureau

    DAHI is developing a speaker’s bureau made up of physicians from our member organizations. The goal of the speakers bureau is to develop a database of physicians who have expertise and interest in the fields of handgun injury and suicide prevention, and/or experience with media relations.

    Members of the speakers bureau would be called upon to attend speaking engagements, respond to calls from the media – print, radio and television - and to present at grand rounds at local hospitals.

    If you are interested in joining DAHI’s speakers bureau, please email Arinn Dixon Widmayer at.

    Physician Kits

    DAHI has put together kits that will provide physicians and other health professionals with helpful materials on gun injury prevention. The kit includes brochures for physicians and patients, fact sheets, and policy information. If you are interested in receiving a Physician Kit, please email Rebecca Bruno at.

    Tell a Colleague

    Please pass this update on to another physician that you think would like to get involved with gun injury prevention. The more people who become involved, the greater the impact we can make on reducing gun death and injury in America.

    For more information on any of these topics, please contact Rebecca Bruno, DAHI Program Associate, at or 202.232.3319 or visit our website.