With more than 38,000 Americans dying from firearm-related injuries each year and an estimated 85,000 people surviving non-fatal firearm injuries, the American Medical Association (AMA) today announced a new online continuing medical education (CME) module to help prepare physicians to counsel their patients on firearm safety. The module is designed to assist physicians, particularly those who specialize in primary care and emergency medicine, in recognizing risk factors that increase the potential for firearm injury and death, identifying barriers to communicating with patients about firearm safety, and effectively communicating with patients to reduce the risk of firearm injury and death.
"Injury and death from firearms is a major public health crisis. Yet, while we know there is a very real need for firearm injury prevention among patients, the majority of physicians are not taught how to screen and counsel their patients on firearm safety," said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. "The AMA developed this educational module to ensure more physicians are prepared to confidently and effectively communicate with their patients about firearm safety. We encourage all physicians to openly talk with high-risk patients about firearm safety--doing so will go a long way toward addressing this public health crisis, helping prevent unnecessary firearm-related injuries and saving lives."
The new module presents three different scenarios to help physicians determine the best approach for handling patient interactions. Specifically, physicians will learn how to counsel patients at high-risk of firearm injuries, including a patient at risk of suicide, a patient dealing with domestic violence, and parents in a pediatric setting. The module is available for free on the AMA EdHub and qualifies for AMA PRA Category 1 creditTM.
The AMA declared firearm-related violence - one of the leading causes of intentional and unintentional injuries and deaths in the United States - a public health crisis in in 2016. The new module announced today expands on the AMA's work and extensive policy adopted over the past two decades aimed at encouraging firearm safety and preventing firearm-related injuries and deaths.
This includes new policy adopted in June to address firearms and high-risk individuals. Under the new policy, the AMA supports gun violence restraining orders that would allow family members, intimate partners, household members, and law enforcement personnel to petition a court to remove firearms from individuals who pose a high or imminent risk for violence. The policy also calls for laws that would prevent anyone who is under a domestic violence restraining order or convicted of misdemeanor violent crimes--including stalking--from purchasing or owning a firearm. Most recently, in November, the AMA called on states to require the reporting of prohibited individuals, as defined by state and federal law, to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The AMA will continue its efforts to address firearm violence to help keep our communities safe and healthy.