(HealthDay)—Family physicians can play a role in addressing and preventing violence in the community, according to a Jan. 17 letter to President Obama from the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Noting that the causes of gun violence are complex, Jeffrey J. Cain, M.D., president of the AAFP, wrote to President Obama, on behalf of the AAFP, to express the willingness of family physicians to use their time and resources to focus on prevention programs addressing violence in the community and thereby improving the health of patients.
According to the letter, the AAFP commends both the executive order enabling physicians to discuss gun ownership and safety with their patients and the actions to end the restriction on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's gun-related violence research and data collection. Gun safety must form part of the solution to violence, and the AAFP expressed support for evaluating the effect of regulations, interventions, and strategies for preventing firearm-related injuries and fatalities. Finally, the AAFP agrees that more attention should be devoted to identifying and appropriately treating mental illness, and believes that family physicians are well-placed to assist in improving access to mental health services.
"We are committed to doing out part to provide our members with the best information and resources to empower them to be a part of a national strategy and solution," Cain concludes.