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NMA Calls for Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency

Tuesday, July 7, 2020   (0 Comments)
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During this past July 4th weekend, we saw senseless gun violence in major cities throughout the country. A child as young as 11 years old was murdered in Washington, DC and even younger in Atlanta and Chicago. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims. Unfortunately, condolences are not nearly enough.

Over the past five months, the National Medical Association (NMA) has been able to build a prevention, intervention, response and communication infrastructure to strategically respond to the COVID threat. All the great minds and resources of our government, health care institutions and public health providers have come together to save lives. This has been the truest example of a comprehensive public health response to an emerging threat. It is important for us, as a nation, to activate our entire public health system to prevent the morbidity and mortality of our communities from Gun Violence. This means equitable access to education, economics, housing, healthcare and criminal justice. We must reimagine how we serve communities in need.

It is for these reasons that the NMA is calling for the declaration of a Public Health Emergency in cities faced with the epidemic of Gun Violence. We are asking the federal government to support this declaration in the form of a congressionally-funded resource package. We understand that there is an ongoing, acute viral/COVID-19 pandemic, however we cannot permit this acute pandemic to allow us to ignore the chronic epidemic of Gun Violence in this country. We need action NOW.

The NMA is the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. As the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine; the NMA has long asserted police excessive use of force as a public health issue and has published both a position statement on police excess use of force and a position paper on urban violence in minority communities. The organization is committed to addressing issues of social determinants, structural violence and systemic racism that fosters an environment that leads to the disproportionate policing of communities of color.

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Oliver T. Brooks, MD   Contact: Michael Peery
President, National Medical Association   (312) 217-2260
    mlp@lengarmedia.com

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