Statement on Gun Violence

Statement on Gun Violence

To Memorial Hospital:

Northeast Florida Medical Society (NEFMS) as a community of African-American physicians and other allied healthcare professionals in the Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia region is an organization grounded on principles of building and strengthening the community without partiality. As such, the positioning communicated by the leadership at the Duval County
Medical Society (DCMS) has raised significant concerns. We have communicated the following positions to them with an intent to facilitate constructive discourse:

  1. NEFMS is against gun violence
  2. NEFMS supports the second amendment.
  3. Firing a gun in a political advertisement is against NEFMS efforts to decrease gun violence.
  4. NEFMS supports the Affordable Care Act, in conjunction with the National Medical Association, American Medical
    Association, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of
    Pediatrics among a large consensus of other medical societies.
  5. NEFMS maintains that actively pursuing candidacy for public office should preclude one’s eligibility for presidency, and
    one’s continuation in that position.

The President of DCMS has indicated an intent not to make any more public appearances on behalf of DCMS, but he has resolved to continue his term until October. While we support more active engagement of our community of physicians in the community, even in public office regardless of party affiliation or personal perspectives to advocate for the best potential
public health outcomes, we maintain that we should avoid the type of conflicts that arise when an organization, DCMS in this case, is associated with the stated ideas endorsed by its President, especially as they are divergent from the medical community at large, including the FMA and AMA.

The passive effects of the current DCMS President’s political candidacy and continued Presidency ostracizes a large segment of community-minded physicians to include those that DCMS represents. Regardless of party affiliation, we do not support the passive or active promotion of gun violence as represented in his campaigning. We endorse the Affordable Care Act in accordance with a large consensus of the professional organizations that represent the national medical community. Notwithstanding, we embrace the freedom of independent thought even if it is divergent from the consensus of most in the medical community.

Given the stated concerns, we maintain that for a political candidate to maintain Presidency of an organization during his political candidacy is accepting an active conflict of interest within the organization. We also maintain that the continued acceptance of DCMS during his term as President, despite the perspectives that have been presented that are averse to the AMA/FMA stated goals of public health and safety, may be viewed as an endorsement of those positions by the organization for which the candidate currently serves as its President. To continue as President with the conflicts aforementioned is an insubstantial remedy. As such, many members of our organization are intent on withdrawing their membership and support. We encourage within your board membership to consider the challenges presented, and what response you may consider as a reasonable recourse.

Regards,

Rogers Cain, MD
On Behalf of NEFMS Executive Committee