Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue
Contrary to recent assertions by the NRA, gun violence is a public health issue. Public health is defined as “the health of the population as a whole, especially as monitored, regulated, and promoted by the state.” Gun violence, whether in the form of homicides, suicides, accidents, and mass shootings, is a phenomenon that causes injury, mortality, and longstanding mental health issues including trauma-related disorders. Witnessing gun violence during childhood is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) and volumes of research show the impact of ACEs on risk for both physical and mental health issues throughout adulthood. Public health researchers, clinicians, and advocates are invited to discuss ways the public health community can address gun violence to improve public health.
This chat was in partnership with Physician’s Weekly. Both hashtags were used to expand the conversation across our communities: #behavioralmedchat and #pwchat.
Dr. Pagoto, Dr. Ranney, and Physician's Weekly discussed the following questions.
What are your thoughts about calling gun violence a "public health" problem? Is that helpful? not helpful? why?
To what extent is "gun violence" similar or different from suicide prevention or assault prevention?
Little progress has been made in gun violence research. What are 2-3 research questions you think are the most important to tackle?
Should we as public health professionals partner with gun owners and others who are worried about losing their Second Amendment rights? If so, how can we do this?
What can public health scientists and practitioners do to participate more on this issue, either from research, science communication, activism, or other standpoint?
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