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AUA Virtual Fireside Advocacy Chat: Targeting Firearm Safety

By: Brian Stork, MD, FACS, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor | Posted on: 18 Mar 2024

Every generation of urologists is faced with a unique set of practice challenges and advocacy opportunities. Within the specialty of urology, advocacy efforts have historically been centered around areas of patient access to medical and specialty care and physician reimbursement. Traditional avenues of physician advocacy include membership and participation in county and state medical societies, specialty societies, and the American Medical Association (AMA).

Speaking at the recent House of Delegates, AMA President Dr Jessie Ehrenfeld explained, “I know the work of advocacy is not easy—and it goes far beyond what most of us learned in medical school. But the truth is, nobody is going to do this difficult work for us. It has to be us.”1 Toward this end, the AUA recently began hosting a series of “Fireside Advocacy Chats.” These chats, held virtually via Zoom, are an opportunity for urology residents and young physicians to learn about, and participate in, a wide range of advocacy efforts currently taking place within the field of urology and beyond.

Recently, the host of the AUA Fireside Advocacy Chat, Dr Ben Pockros, invited Dr Brian Stork to discuss his firearm injury prevention research and advocacy work. During the conversation, both physicians discussed how firearm violence had impacted them personally. Dr Stork went on to share his experiences lobbying for gun violence prevention and gun safety legislation at the national, state, and local levels. He then went on to discuss the detrimental impact gun violence has had on the youth of Muskegon County, Michigan, and shared details on SafERteens, an evidence-based, primary prevention program that he is helping implement in his local emergency room.2

During the informal conversation that followed, questions were raised about how urologists can best engage patients on issues involving gun safety. The recently released NEJM Group Video, “Reducing Harm—Having Conversations about Firearm Storage”3 was recommended as an excellent introductory resource on the topic for physicians, and the “Parents’ Guide to Home Firearm Safety”4 was suggested as a freely available resource for urologists to download and share with their patients.

  1. Firth S. Medicine is not just at a crossroads, it’s in a crisis, AMA President says. Medpage Today. November 11, 2023. Accessed March 6, 2024.
  2. SafERteens. Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, University of Michigan. Accessed March 6, 2024.
  3. Reducing harm—having conversations about firearm storage. NEJM Group. November 1, 2023. Accessed March 6, 2024.
  4. Parents’ guide to home firearm safety. Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, University of Michigan. Accessed March 6, 2024.