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Open Letter to the Friends and Family of Dr. Tamara O’Neal

Dear Family and Friends of Dr. Tamara O’Neal,

“Domestic and Gun Violence: The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)”

American Medical Women’s Association, AMWA extends our deepest condolences to friends and family for the murder of Dr. Tamara O’neal, an emergency room doctor. As details of this unfortunate tragedy surface, we learn from social media and NBCChicago, about a young African American doctor who is remembered by loved ones as “a sweetheart”, a doctor who “had a heart of gold”, “one of the most persistent and resilient individuals I’ve ever met”. “She was loved and admired”. In this tragedy Chicago police Samuel Jimenez, a pharmaceutical assistant and the gunman reported to be Dr. O’Neal ex-fiancé Juan Lopez also lost their lives.

Domestic and gun violence are significant public health issues that haunt our hearts and peace, they have to be addressed to protect our families and neighborhoods, we must work together to tackle these significant public health crises. The face of domestic violence is ugly, scary, and it affects all regardless of their education and socioeconomic status, culture, religion, and other demographic characteristics. To deal with the problem of gun and domestic violence we need to support physicians to promote gun safety and screen for domestic violence within their practices, ensure all learners have a safe learning environment, advocate for teaching our patients’ about domestic violence, gun safety, firearm injury prevention and promoting funding for research. AMWA is working nationally to decrease the burden of domestic and gun violence. According to the 2010 CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 25% of women in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner and another study quotes that 1 in 3 female murder victims are killed by intimate partners (1,2). To break this cycle of abuse health care providers, families, friends, and communities have to recognize, report, and support domestic violence survivors. AMWA extends our deepest sympathy to the friends and loved ones affected by this tragedy. In these moments of silence and prayers for those lost, we call for increased support for the medical community and funding resources necessary to appropriately study the issue of domestic and gun violence.

Sima. I. Patel, MD AMWA Advocacy Committee

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, FACP, FAMWA Co-Chair AMWA Advocacy Committee


  1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Based on data from the national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (nisvs): 2010-2012 state report.
  2. Bridges, F.S., Tatum, K. M., & Kunselman, J.C. (2008). Domestic violence statutes and rates of intimate partner and family homicide: A research note. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 19(1), 117-130.

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber

Executive Director, IUNCOE in Women’s Health, she leads efforts to achieve the mission of improving the health of Indiana women with an outreach program, statewide collaborations, and impacting policy decisions. Professor of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics, she served as the Chief Physician Executive Outpatient Care/Center of Excellence in Women’s Health @ Eskenazi, provides primary care for patients with chronic diseases/cancer survivors/eating disorders. President, American Medical Women’s Association (2015-2016), she is an Inaugural Fellow and recognized for outstanding achievements in science, medicine and academia. She served on the governing council of the Women’s Physicians Congress American Medical Association as Vice Chair. Receiving numerous awards that include: IUPUI Outstanding Woman Leader Award, Indianapolis Monthly‘s “Top Doctors”, American Medical Association (AMA) Innovations in Medicine award, and American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) “Exceptional Mentor” award. In 2017, she was named a Woman of Influence by the Indianapolis Business Journal. Prior to 2007 she was on faculty at SUNY Upstate Medical Center, Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory School of Medicine. She graduated from Weill College of Medicine at Cornell, and completed her residency in internal medicine at University Hospital of Cleveland Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber has been a member of the Indianapolis Medical Society since 2007 and is a frequent contributor to the IMS Bulletin.

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