October 4, 2017

Dear SAHM Members:

This has been a very difficult time filled with many tragic events. I would like to express my most sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  I was moved to learn of the countless acts of heroism and bravery demonstrated by first responders and concert goers during this horrific event.

It is an unfortunate truth that we as a society have become almost numb to mass shootings, particularly with regard to enacting firearm injury prevention policies. No matter how frequent these events are, we cannot afford to become complacent. You have the fortitude and ability to promote change. Reach out to your national and local legislators and tell them your thoughts. Demand change and offer promising policies and practices based on the research evidence that many of our members and others have conducted. Advocate for federal research funding for firearm injury prevention. SAHM's violence prevention committee chair, Dr. Eric Sigel, and I participated in a health policy brief that was published yesterday that examined the growing call for the CDC to resume gun violence research.

Firearm deaths outnumber deaths from any disease category and rank second only to motor vehicles among adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24. SAHM is in the process of updating its firearm policy statement, but many points from the one in 2005 still ring true. The fact that research on gun violence is suppressed and common sense regulation is shouted down should not be tolerated. Question the status quo and fight for a brighter, safer tomorrow.

My thoughts and prayers are also with our U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico who continue to need aid and struggle amongst the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. While the death toll has been updated to 34 people, the long suffering without basic needs such as food, water, shelter, power and access to medical care is immeasurable. The personal and property losses are unfathomable. Of note, we have a SAHM regional chapter in Puerto Rico. I have reached out to the chapter president, but have not yet had a reply. Please keep our Puerto Rico chapter members in your thoughts.

The earthquake disasters in central and southern Mexico have also been devastating.  The days and months ahead for those impacted by earthquakes and hurricanes will be challenging.

For anyone interested in donating to efforts helping the victims of these tragedies, we encourage you to visit the following websites:
The compassion and generosity shown by so many within SAHM by providing support to one another, to those directly impacted, and to our patients and families who have been traumatized and experienced loss and grief through these worldwide events is greatly appreciated.  Please also make sure that you are taking good care of yourself. As adolescent health professionals we must be persistent and continue to invest in our future by acting to make change to assist all of our communities today, since change may not come quickly or easily.

With warm regards and sincerity,

Tamera Coyne-Beasley, MD, MPH, FAAP, FSAHM

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