MMS supports new gun violence research organization, Stop the Bleed

The Massachusetts Medical Society, in its continued efforts to understand the causes of and lead in the prevention of gun violence, this week announced it will “support the mission and goals of the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM) in so far as AFFIRM reflects the stated policies of the MMS as it reaches out to private and charitable funders to achieve its research aims.”

AFFIRM is an independent, physician-led organization – 501(c)(3) status pending – with a stated mission to raise monies from the private sector to fund firearm injury prevention research and to support professional guideline groups in the development of evidence-based, best practice recommendations for health care providers to reduce the incidence and health consequences of firearm-related violence.

The MMS policy relevant to this relationship with AFFIRM, adopted in May of 2013, states, “The MMS is guided by the principles of reducing the number of deaths, disabilities, and injuries attributable to guns; making gun ownership safer; promoting education relative to guns, ammunition, and violence prevention, for physicians and other health professionals as well as for the public; encouraging research to understand the risk factors related to gun violence and deaths.”

At the suggestion of MMS Immediate Past President Dr. James Gessner, AFFIRM was introduced to the MMS presidential officers by Dr. Christopher Barsotti, emergency physician at Berkshire Medical Center and Chair of the Trauma and Injury Prevention Section at the American College of Emergency Physicians.

AFFIRM is led by a Steering Committee of renowned experts in firearm-related harm reduction, including Dr. John Burress, Vice Chair of the MMS Committee on Public Health and Dr. Eric Goralnick, Chair of the MMS Committee on Preparedness.

Related, MMS amended and reaffirmed its Emergency Medical Services policy with language specific to the “Stop the Bleed” initiative, which includes, “the Massachusetts Medical Society promote widespread population awareness of the ‘Stop the Bleed’ initiative to control severe hemorrhage in disaster and trauma events.”

Drs. Goralnick and Barsotti tied in AFFIRM’s mission and the Stop the Bleed campaign as “part of the arc of prevention and care” related to trauma and disaster situations.

Launched in October of 2015 by the White House, Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action. Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

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