March 7, 2023
The proceedings from the Second ACS Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention, held in September 2022 at ACS Headquarters, were published on March 6 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS).
Representatives from 46 organizations convened for the Summit, making it one of the largest gatherings of medical and injury prevention professionals on this issue. This Summit featured a review of community violence initiatives, strategies to support healthcare-centered communication, and a review of the evidence informing public policy for firearm injury prevention.
The objectives of the Summit focused on identifying consensus-based, non-partisan strategies that can be effective in reducing the burden of firearm injury in communities across the US. To achieve the goals outlined at the Summit, the sponsoring organizations agreed to establish the Healthcare Coalition for Firearm Injury Prevention.
“All clinicians who care for patients have the opportunity to identify those at risk of firearm injury and provide counseling to mitigate these risks,” the authors wrote. They provided specific examples of what these clinical opportunities include, such as education on firearm storage, lethal means safety counseling, violence intervention programs, and more.
In addition, a key part of this summit continues to be the inclusion of firearm owners in solutions to ensure that interventions have support from individuals firmly connected to firearm use. Firearm owners and experts are seen as “trusted messengers” and have effectively delivered firearm safety messages in their communities.
Article authors and leaders provided comments on the firearm violence reduction in the US. They included Eileen M. Bulger, MD, FACS, Medical Director of ACS Trauma Programs, Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, Executive Director & CEO of the ACS, and leaders from the co-hosting organizations.
“By addressing the root causes of violence and providing education and support, healthcare professionals can play a crucial role in preventing firearm violence and promoting a safer, healthier society,” Dr. Bulger said. “This renewed effort to create a Healthcare Coalition for Firearm Injury Prevention leverages the talents of major medical organizations across America as we guide the nation in tackling this public health crisis.”
“The crisis of firearm violence continues to afflict communities across this country, day after day. The American College of Surgeons and our coalition partners have come together because the medical community is well positioned to help address this vexing issue,” said Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, ACS Executive Director & CEO. “By taking an approach that we know works for other public health issues and by engaging all stakeholders, including those who own firearms, we can create actionable solutions to reduce death and save lives.”