Is Gun Violence a Social Disease?

Aug 15, 2012, 12:03 PM

In the wake of yet one more high-profile shooting this week, at Texas A&M University, the Associated Press profiled the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, which is calling for a public health approach to reducing gun violence, in the same way that public health has tackled such issues as motor vehicle deaths, tobacco and alcohol.  "The greater toll is not from these clusters but from endemic violence, the stuff that occurs every day and doesn't make the headlines," says Garen J. Wintemute, MD, MPH, the program’s director.

According to information in the article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 73,000 emergency room visits in 2010 for firearm-related injuries.

Critical factors being addressed by the Violence Prevention Research Program include:

  • What makes someone more likely to shoot?
  • Which firearms are most dangerous and why?
  • What conditions allow or contribute to shootings?

>>Read the article.

 >>Bonus Link: Public Health Law Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Temple University Beasley School of Law are co-sponsoring LEPH 2012: The First International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health to be held in Melbourne, Australia, November 11-13, 2012.

Among the sessions will be case studies of successful collaborations between police and public health across a wide range of issues.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.