05/06/2013 • 2:46 PM 0
12/25/2012 • 7:14 PM 0
Who Should Pay for Our Safety?
Invited column by Matthew Katz
The National Rifle Association’s statements suggested that we increase school security by bringing more guns to our schools. Instead of making taxpayers to foot the bill for police to ‘secure’ our schools, maybe gun owners should be required to pay for the right to own lethal weapons.
When I was sixteen, I had to get a driver’s permit. I couldn’t drive without an adult and had to pay for driver’s school and testing to obtain a license. I had to demonstrate that I was competent enough to keep my vehicle from being a lethal weapon. I have driver’s insurance and have to pay for annual car inspections to prove my vehicle is safe to drive.
As a doctor, I have to pass multiple exams to prove competence for board certification. State licenses and hospital credentialing are essential to practice medicine. I practice in two states, so I maintain two DEA certificates for each state. I maintain malpractice insurance. Because even though I intend to heal and help cancer patients, the medications and radiation therapy I prescribe can potentially harm or kill them.
The National Rifle Association can argue that it represents the interests of hunters, business owners and defenders of the constitution. I support the rights of many good people who value their right to bear arms. But if cars and medicine require education, regulation, insurance and licenses then so should lethal weapons.
If you want to own a gun, then accept the costs and responsibilities that accompany that right. If you can’t prove you’re competent and safe, then turn in your weapons. If you can’t afford to pay for the registration and insurance, then turn in your weapons. If you can’t prove you store lethal weapons safely, then turn in your weapons.
Please do not tell me that to protect my wife and children I have to pay for police to guard them. It is the responsibility of gun owners, not the taxpayers, to bear that burden.
12/18/2012 • 1:08 PM 0
Invited Column by Jodie Kliman, Ph.D., Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
As someone with many years of experience with helping children cope with both personal and large-scale catastrophic events, I have been struck by a few things largely missing in the interviews and talking points of many psychologists interviewed by the press since Friday. I think it would be useful to lay them out, especially for the many of us students and faculty who are directly working with children and adolescents and/or with people who have themselves previously experienced the sudden (especially violent) death of someone close to them:
12/16/2012 • 9:41 PM 6
Invited Column by Matthew Katz, MD
In oncology, we get excited when we can improve survival modestly, 5% or more. The stark difference in gun violence mortality and injury in the United States compared to other developed other nations with strict gun laws makes me wonder: why not eliminate violence with the same commitment we have for cancer care?
Violence is not a biologic cancer, but a societal one. Unlike malignancies, it’s purely from human interaction. This disease is more in our control than cancer; if we choose to act upon it.
Here are some possible ways to decrease the violence:
Cost of Care
There are also sound economic reasons to lessen violence:
I’m not an economist or health policy researcher, but you get the point.
If we reframe the United States’ culture of violence as a disease, maybe it will help get past some of the typical hyperbole. May be not. But until we act to ensure the safety of our children, expect more preventable tragedies like Sandy Hook to occur.
Any of these options, or others, can be evaluated and tested for effectiveness. What are we waiting for?
12/14/2012 • 8:37 PM 3
It is usual that reporters and media outlets contact mental health experts to address the questions of trauma after a massacre. The tragedy in Newtown is not different. What should we do as family therapists in response to those questions?
A lot of valuable documents (research, clinical, etc.), however, have been written about what to do, what to tell children and parents to assure them and normalize their grief responses. Most clinicians can speak competently about trauma after a tragedy like the ones we witness with so much frequency. Information for the public and the professionals is easily accessible via sites like the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and SAMHSA, among many others. The evidence is there, no need for new statements about what needs to be done. Sadly, this is the new normal.
What we probably don’t do is to speak aloud about gun control, question the rights of citizens to kill others, of thinking really systemically about what our responsibilities are as citizens-clinicians and not as just helpers. We are to engage with our skills in changing the problem upstream not downstream. If we are really willing to struggle and collaborate in the transformation of this problem, we need to really not only be witness to the pain of the most recent victims.
We invest too much in thinking about what can help traumatized families (we know that) and not changing the minds of those who continue to support policies that allow anyone to use guns to kill. Or, we think less about how to contribute our expertise to shape sound gun control policies. Let’s think progressively about this. It is tempting to jump on the need to resolve the pain or to ask for more mental health opportunities—we need them but it is not enough.
In all honesty, just being helpers is like pulling water with a cup out of sinking ship.
This is a public health problem and not a clinical one. We need the later, but we are to take more responsibility for entering the policy and political discussion to shift the upstream causes.
11/12/2012 • 1:21 PM 0
The purpose of HESP is to train, support and mentor students interested in health disparities. Developing a diverse workforce committed to health disparities research is key in meeting the heath care needs of an increasingly diverse population. HESP is a project of UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research (CHEIR). It is supported by a collaborative partnership between UMass Medical School and UMass Boston. Funded by National Institutes of Health and National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities.
￼Who is eligible?
- Students from underrepresented communities—African American, Native American, Latino
- Successfully completed at least 24 credits, 3.0 GPA
- Interest in exploring health research and health careers
What does it mean to be a HESP Scholar?
- Complete a 3 credit elective course (Introduction to Health Disparities). The course meets Wednesdays, 4pm – 7pm in Spring 2013.
- Opportunity to learn about health careers
- Opportunity to join a research project
- Present your course project at an Annual Research Meeting
- Provide support until graduation
How to apply: please download the application and the faculty recommendation form, and e-mail both to Yvonne Gomes-Santos. The deadline is Friday, December 7th. For more information contact Yvonne Gomes-Santos at 617.287.5885.
11/09/2012 • 11:17 AM 0
08/27/2012 • 11:15 AM 0
Click here to apply
Search for Program Manager
Program Manager to execute day-to-day activities of the Center. This individual will report to Jeroan Allison, Milagros Rosal, and Rick McManus. To view the job posting, please go to https://careers-umms.icims.com/jobs/intro?hashed=0 search for Requisition Number 2012-20160. For more information, contact Rick McManus at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-856-8073.
The University of Massachusetts has been awarded a $6.7 million grant over five years from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to establish the UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research (CHEIR). Supported by a collaborative partnership between UMass Medical School and UMass Boston, CHEIR’s mission is to improve the health of socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations. UMass was also recognized as a Comprehensive Center of Excellence by NIMHD, which is part of the National Institutes of Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.More information about CHEIR
06/28/2012 • 11:45 AM 0