Volunteer Physicians Needed for PSR-LA’s Gun Violence Prevention Program

Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Violence Prevention Program works to bring a public health focus to the violence prevention debate. PSR recognizes the unique voice of health care professionals as experts with first-hand knowledge of the tragic effects of gun violence, and strives to assert this position by becoming among the foremost advocates of firearm injury prevention.

Concerned physicians are spreading the concept that gun violence is a public health epidemic through vehicles such as visits to medical schools, roundtables, inservice trainings, legislative visits, reality tours and grand rounds.

Physicians are needed to present “Preventing Death and Injury from Firearms: What Physicians Can Do,” PSR-LA’s powerful PowerPoint slide show. You may also consider organizing a grand round or brown bag for your own facility or present at one of the many venues that request presentations.

In 2000 a survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed 87 percent of pediatricians believed they should make inquiries about the availability of firearms in the home. The survey also found that 96 percent agreed or strongly agreed that pediatricians should advise parents who own firearms to unload their guns and lock them away.

Clearly, physicians believe that their role in firearm violence prevention is important.

However, the same survey revealed that only 15 percent of pediatricians said they always identify families who keep

firearms in their homes. Over 30 percent surveyed said they never do so. Only 33 percent of physicians reported always recommending that families should unload and lock up their guns. Thirty seven percent said they never grovide that guidance.

Determining and promoting best practices for gun violence prevention is an important element of the violence prevention program at PSR-LA. Physicians and activists can also get involved in the legislative arm of the violence prevention program. Use your first-hand knowledge of the gun violence epidemic to advocate for legislation that can protect public health. Volunteer to make visits to legislators or sign up to be on our e-alert mail list to keep abreast of ongoing legislative work at PSR-LA.

Physicians seeking greater involvement in our violence prevention program can also volunteer to provide tattoo

removal to ex-gang members and gang impacted youth through the “Ya Estuvo” Tattoo Removal program at homeboy Industries.

The Homeboy Jobs for a Future (JFF) program provides free tattoo removal services to any client requesting them; giving priority to those clients who have tattoos that inhibit their safety, their ability to secure employment or their mental health. The service is provided on site. JFF has a state-of-the-art laser tattoo removal machine and a number of doctors who donate their time. PSR-LA is committed to recruiting additional doctors willing to provide this very important service. The waiting list for this service is a mile long and any M.D. can be trained to use the equipment.

To become a part of the PSR-LA Violence Prevention committee or become a volunteer, please contact PSR-LA

Public Health Organizer Candice Kim by e-mailing candice@psr.org or by calling (213)689-9170 x104.

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