Why your doctor wants to talk about guns

Medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai held a demonstration last week, wearing custom scrubs that featured a bullet hole in the word "safe."

Story highlights

  • Doctors and students recently rallied against gun violence at over 30 medical schools
  • They call gun violence an "epidemic" that deserves more research

New York (CNN)Your doctor already talks to you about sex, drugs and alcohol, but should they talk to you about guns, too? A newly-formed coalition of healthcare providers thinks so -- and patient intervention is just one part of their plan to reduce what they call an "epidemic" of gun violence.

The organization, Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic, known as SAFE, is demanding an increase in federal funding for gun violence research, and is calling on lawmakers to implement "evidence-based policy" on guns.
At more than 30 medical schools across the country last week, students and physicians wore scrubs with SAFE's bright red logo as they held demonstrations at their hospitals. According to Sarabeth Spitzer, a fourth-year medical student at Stanford who spearheaded the campaign, the group distributed about 2,700 of the special scrubs "to show the overwhelming consensus of health care providers that firearm violence is a public health crisis."
    Most of those scrubs went to medical students. Several said they receive little training on gun violence despite the thousands of lives lost due to firearms every year.
    "There is no prohibition whatsoever on talking about guns with patients," said Spitzer, "but most physicians and medical students have never been trained in how to talk about them."