Is Gun Violence A Health Disparity?

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Revolver and bulltes on a dark surfaceThe National Medical Association (NMA) is the nation’s oldest and largest medical association representing the interest of over 50,000 African American physicians and the patients they serve. The NMA is committed to addressing health disparities and cites gun violence as a disparity.

“The President of the United States was on target in his call for the American people to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to reducing gun violence in our country. The Congress must now follow his lead, and pass meaningful legislation to reduce the bloodshed,” said Rahn Kennedy Bailey, MD, FAPA, President of the NMA Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Meharry Medical College and one of the nation’s leading psychiatrists.

“As a forensic psychiatrist, I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum, the victim and the criminal. Gun violence has been an issue in this country for decades.”

The NMA stands ready to be a resource and assist the President and specifically Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, as well as U. S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

“The NMA has always been at the forefront of patient advocacy since its existence, we have steadfastly supported mental health equity. I have personally dedicated my life to ensuring that we increase awareness, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness while combating stigma and barriers to care,” said Dr. Bailey.

“The NMA houses experts from various aspects of medicine and stands ready to participate in the dialogue on mental health, patient privacy and other health related issues.”

The NMA is encouraged by the Obama Administration’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force recommendations which directly affect healthcare professionals and their patients:

Directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to resume public health research on gun violence

Clarifying mental health benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Reminding doctors that the ACA does not prohibit asking their patients about guns in their homes;

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