Perspective: Addressing gun violence is 'professional, moral and ethical duty' of healthcare providers

As frontline responders to gun-related shootings and deaths, healthcare providers have an obligation to talk about gun violence and advocate for more research and policy-based prevention strategies, according to a blog in Health Affairs.

The post ran Nov. 20 as a response to criticism from the National Rifle Association that physicians who push for gun control are out of their "lane." Nearly 900 people have died from mass shootings since 1999, the authors note. This year alone, there have been 135 mass shootings, counting only shootings that injured or killed five or more people. The afternoon before the post was published, four people died in a shooting at Chicago-based Mercy Hospital & Medical Center.

The authors wrote they believe that providers, including physicians, nurses, social workers and researchers, "have a professional, moral and ethical duty" to share their professional experiences with gun violence, push for greater use of evidence-based gun violence prevention strategies, seek funds, and lobby government to support gun research and advocate for gun safety.

"Providers have an obligation to their patients and the communities they serve to proactively work toward injury and death prevention from any cause," the authors wrote.

"As with the opioid epidemic — another ongoing public health emergency in this country — healthcare providers cannot and should not idly stand by to stay in our lane."

Read the full post here.

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