Gun violence prevention experts call for more physician involvement

February 11, 2013

A new commentary in the Annals of Internal Medicine from researchers with The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and University of California, Davis, calls for more physician engagement in the current gun policy dialogue.

"Physicians are an important source of information for the public and a valued constituency for policymakers," said lead author Shannon Frattaroli, a faculty member with the Johns Hopkins Center for and Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "They are uniquely poised to be at the forefront of prevention efforts."

Frattaroli, along with co-author Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine physician at UC Davis Medical Center and the Baker–Teret Chair in at UC Davis, outline five strategies for physician engagement on the issue:

  • Physician as Clinician: The majority of gun violence victims die as a result of suicide. Physicians can work to ensure is available and support policies that restrict or limit new gun purchases among those at risk.
  • Physicians' Role in Managing Fear: As fear figures prominently in decisions people make about guns and in , there's an opportunity for physicians, who are used to helping patients manage fears, to bring those skills to the current conversation on guns.
  • Physician as Researcher: On Jan. 16, President Obama directed the to conduct research into the causes and consequences of gun violence, reversing the agency's 17-year silence on gun violence prevention research. Physicians can help assure that money is appropriated, and contribute to the future research agenda.
  • Physician as Policy Advocate: As advocates and leaders, physicians can use their collective "raised voices" to influence Congress to consider new policies to prevent deaths from gun violence.
  • Physician as Leader: Physicians can talk and write about their interactions with patients and colleagues, and lead by example in statehouses and halls of Congress.

"Most people who die from gunshot wounds do so at the shooting site and never make it to the hospital. More or better treatment is unlikely to yield the greatest reductions in gun deaths," Wintemute said.

"Gun violence is a public-health problem requiring a greater emphasis on prevention. Physicians, on behalf of their patients and their communities, can add much to the current policy discussions."

Explore further: AAFP to Obama: Family docs key in violence prevention

Related Stories

AAFP to Obama: Family docs key in violence prevention

January 25, 2013
(HealthDay)—Family physicians can play a role in addressing and preventing violence in the community, according to a Jan. 17 letter to President Obama from the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Broader background checks and denial criteria could help prevent mass shooting catastrophes

December 27, 2012
Garen Wintemute, a leading authority on gun violence prevention and an emergency medicine physician at UC Davis, believes broader criteria for background checks and denials on gun purchases can help prevent future firearm ...

Comprehensive public health approach urged to curb gun violence in US

January 7, 2013
In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Newtown, Conn. in December, three Harvard experts say the best way to curb gun violence in the U.S. is to take a broad public health approach, drawing on proven, evidence-based ...

Recommended for you

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rfw
1 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2013
The Gun That Does Not Exist Cannot Be Used To Kill People.
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2013
MOLON LABE μολὼν λαβέ molṑn labé Lord of Flies
freethinking
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2013
rfw, why do you hate women, the old, sick, weak and infirm? Why do you stand up and empower evil? You know as well as I do, that
a evil person will use anything to kill, steal, rob, bully.

However a gun in the hands of a determined 90 year old 80lb woman, terrifies the 250lb muscle bound evil man intent on doing her harm. Take that gun away and she is nothing more than a victim.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.