The violent events of the past year and my writing about them here have provoked strong feelings among our members and raised, I think, good questions like: What can I do as a physician to impact this problem? Do I even have a role?  The problem seems so big that it is very difficult for us to get our hands around.  Are there only policy solutions? Are there clinical solutions?  Are there community solutions? Or, is this just the way things are and we should accept them? 

Earlier this year, I wrote about work done by Dr. David Schopick, who led NHMS to create a policy statement regarding violence in society.  He has remained active and earlier this year updated his thoughts on his blog, which you can read here. 

Dr. Schopick highlights a variety of key areas of focus if our communities are to stem the rise of violent acts:

·         Preventing sexual, physical and emotional abuse;

·         Discouraging drug and alcohol abuse, particularly for young people;

·         Promoting effective and comprehensive programs to help children overcome learning disabilities and ensure access to an

          adequate education for all children;

·         Promote community programs to offer help to parents who are overwhelmed with the challenges of modern child-rearing;

·         Promote early intervention and diversion programs to steer young offenders away from crime and drug and alcohol abuse;

·         Take a firm stand against the unsupervised access of young people to handguns;

·         Limit television time and encourage creative activities; and

·         Recognize that we are role models for young people.

Because of Dr. Schopick’s work and growing interest on this topic among our members, we are convening a subcommittee of the NHMS Public Health Task Force to revisit NHMS policy to identify where we should focus our resources.  Dr. Len Korn, the NHMS Council representative from the New Hampshire Psychiatric Society, has graciously agreed to lead this subcommittee and is looking for volunteers to help us think about our opportunities to address violence and prioritize them for action by the NHMS. 

I invite you to join us as we think about how our physician community can have an impact on this important policy issue.  If you are interested in participating, please contact James Potter.  I hope to see you there!

Please send your questions or comments to or post a comment below.