Newtown Responce from the Pediatric Community
To our members:
It is hard to imagine 20 children dying suddenly in an elementary school, and harder still to imagine how many more would have died if not for the teachers and administrators who gave their lives to save them. These children were part of a group of people that we as pediatricians are bound to protect, and on 14 December 2012, we fell short. We need to do better. As an organization committed "to creat[ing] a better world for children and families by advancing child health and well-being through the work of our members and collaborators," we invite all of our members to work with us to heal the wounds opened in Newtown last week, and to move forward toward the mission that we espouse.
- Take care of your patients and families. Resources on the AAP website (http://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Children-and-Disasters/Pages/Talking-to-Children-About-Disasters.aspx ), the CDC website (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/general.asp ) and the AACAP website (http://www.aacap.org ) may be useful.
- Attend to your learners and colleagues. Join with your colleagues in discussing and understanding how this tragedy affects your clinical and academic lives. In your precepting and classroom teaching, know that learners may need help in understand the impact of a tragedy of this magnitude on their patients, and on themselves. Use your creativity as a teacher to help add to their professional capacity.
- Engage with your communities. Local responses are happening in schools, faith communities, hospitals and community-based organizations. Look for ways in which they can leverage your professional expertise, and learn from them how you can be helpful to the healing process.
- Advocate for children. The APA Board will be developing a formal organizational response from our organization over the next days and weeks. We will likely use the recent AAP policy statement on Firearm-Related Injuries as a starting point. (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/10/15/peds.2012-2481.full.pdf). Want to be a part it? Let us know by emailing Connie Mackay, email@example.com, so that we can draw on your expertise as we put our thoughts together and network with the larger pediatric community.
- Mourn We can't take care of others if we don't take care of ourselves. Leave yourself enough time to absorb the enormity of this event, to be in solidarity with the families and the community in which these horrible events happened and to integrate this knowledge within your psyche. Then do. For there is much work to be done.
Pablo Casals once said, "You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children." We ask you all to work with us, and the larger pediatric community to create a world where this sort of event is part of the dimly remembered past.
David Jaffe, MD
David Keller, MD
APA President Elect
Benard Dreyer, MD
APA Immediate Past President