Past President's Message
Updates: LGBTQA SIG and Firearm Injury Prevention
I devoted my last APA Newsletter column to introduce the proposal for a new SIG named LGBTQ Health and Well-Being. Since then, our proposal for creation of the new SIG has been approved! I am thrilled that Brian Lurie and Ellen Perrin will join me in becoming inaugural SIG chairs. The first "in person" SIG meeting will occur at the 2014 PAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver next May. We hope to begin listserv and WIKI communications soon.
While I shared the goals of the SIG with you in my last column, I would like to repeat them here now that the SIG is approved. We welcome feedback on these initial goals, and also hope that the SIG will attract interest and participation.
The over-arching goal of the SIG is to provide a forum within the APA to promote the health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals through research, education, improvements in health care delivery, support and advocacy.
Specific goals include:
- To promote research on LGBTQ issues.
- Presentation of research ideas, preliminary data and/or completed projects at SIG meetings.
- Networking with other members to create collaborative research projects.
- Presentations by experts in the field at SIG meetings to stimulate thought and new ideas for research.
- To promote education regarding LGBTQ health and well-being.
- Develop a curriculum for residents regarding LGBTQ health and well-being.*
- Develop educational content for SIG meeting.
- Develop proposals for Workshops and other invited science at PAS.
- Develop educational material for LGBTQ constituencies including parents and youth.
- To develop innovations in health care delivery designed to improve care for members of the LGBTQ community, both parents and children.
- Develop educational materials for present and future workforce.
- Develop improvement strategies and activities for health care practice.
- Identify segments of the health care workforce in need of support and training.
- To advocate for policies that support and improve the health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals.
- Develop APA policies.
- Identify and communicate with the Public Policy Committee support of relevant advocacy opportunities
- Promote safe and supportive work environments for LGBTQ trainees and health care providers.
* It is anticipated that the SIG will collaborate with the new Provisional Section on LGBT Health and Well Being in the American Academy of Pediatrics, the new LGBTQA Pediatric Education Group (PEG) in the APPD, the Public Policy Committee, relevant committees and SIGS of the APA, and other interested organizations in pursuing these goals.
The APA office has established a listserv for the SIG. You can access the list-serve by:
APA_LGB@listserv1.academicpeds.org. We also plan to establish a WIKI for the SIG:
http://www.academicpeds.org/APAWiki/Wiki.cfm. Brian, Ellen and I are thrilled to be organizing and facilitating the activities of this SIG, but in true APA fashion, we anticipate that the SIG's success will arise from the collaborative energy of all of its members. We wish to emphasize that we hope to create a warm and welcoming environment for all SIG members and all APA members interested in joining the SIG and/ or attending SIG activities, regardless of gender or sexual preference.
As Paul Harvey would say: Page Two
The Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights scheduled a hearing on Tuesday, September 17 on the topic of Stand Your Ground Laws. An aide to Senator Richard Durbin, the subcommittee chair, invited the APA to submit testimony to this hearing. I wrote a draft, which was revised by Paul Chung and our PPAC. After reading the revised draft, AMSPDC, the APS, and the PPC decided to sign on to our testimony, and the AAP submitted testimony as well. The testimony is not long, and I would like to share it with you.
September 16, 2013
Ranking Member Cruz
Members of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil
Rights and Human Rights
Testimony For the Record
"Stand Your Ground" Laws
The Academic Pediatric Association (APA) appreciates the opportunity to submit testimony regarding "Stand Your Ground" Laws. The APA is an organization of more than 2,000 academic pediatricians and allied child health professionals, dedicated to the health and well-being of children and youth. We are grateful to be joined in this testimony by the American Pediatric Society (APS) and the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMPSDC), two of the nation's leading organizations supporting academic pediatrics and academic pediatric departments across the country, under the larger umbrella of the Pediatric Policy Council (PPC), an alliance of organizations advising on federal policies impacting children's health issues.
The members of our organizations shared in the nation's grief when 20 young children and 6 of their teachers were killed in the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. As terrible as this mass murder was, we also note that more than 20,000 American children and youth sustain firearm injuries and 6,500 die annually. These injuries most often happen one at a time in our homes, on our streets, and in other places where children live and play. In this age group, firearm injuries cause twice as many deaths as cancer, 5 times as many as heart disease, and 20 times as many as infections.
We believe that, on balance, "Stand Your Ground" laws most likely diminish the health and well-being of children and youth by implicitly encouraging impulsive use of lethal force in public places.
Since 2005, "Stand Your Ground" laws have been adopted by 26 states. Trayvon Martin's death in Florida has focused public attention on the impact that these laws may have on the unnecessary use of lethal force in altercations occurring outside the home that might otherwise not have resulted in homicide. Concerns have also been raised that these laws disproportionately affect youth and minorities, who may be inappropriately perceived as dangerous in public places.
This threat to public health is magnified by the proliferation of concealed carry laws, now in all 50 states, and by evidence that there are now more than 3 million guns possessed by Americans. The combination of concealed firearms and "Stand Your Ground" laws substantially increases the likelihood that children and youth will be injured or killed by gunfire, as either targets or bystanders.
Finally, there is evidence suggesting that homicides have increased in states with "Stand Your Ground" laws compared to states without such laws. Cheng and Hoekstra in a publication forthcoming in the Journal of Human Resources found that the laws are associated with an 8 percent increase in homicides, without measurably deterring crimes such as burglary, robbery or aggravated assault.
In summary, the APA, APS, AMSPDC, and PPC support the repeal of "Stand Your Ground" laws because they diminish the safety, and ultimately the health and well-being, of children and youth in America's public spaces. We also strongly support the authorization and funding of additional research designed not only to rigorously investigate the impact of "Stand Your Ground" laws but also to prevent needless firearm-related injury and death among the children and youth of America.
Submitted on behalf of:
Academic Pediatric Association American Pediatric Society
Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs
The hearing was postponed because of the mass shooting that occurred the day before in the Navy Yard, Washington DC, where 12 people were killed. On Thursday, September 19, there was also a mass shooting in Cornell Square Park in Chicago. This was the 16th mass shooting since Newtown.
It is hard and sad to believe that the mass shootings that occur with seemingly increasing regularity and the daily deaths of 8 American children by gunfire have not yet prompted sensible changes in federal gun laws. There have been changes in some state laws, some better and some worse. You may have heard that in my state of Missouri, the legislature passed a law that would have made it illegal to enforce any federal gun laws, and to make it illegal to publish any information about gun ownership. The law was vetoed, and fortunately, the veto was upheld by a very narrow margin. There is much work to do, and, as I said in my Presidential Address, this work may take time, perhaps generations, to have an effect. So my second presidential project will be to draft a policy for the APA on firearm injuries. We need it now more than ever!
Immediate Past President
Academic Pediatric Association
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