UPDATE: Is Gun Violence a Public Health Problem? (with Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH)

Your Doctor Friends

UPDATE: Is Gun Violence a Public Health Problem? (with Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH)

July 2, 2024

UPDATE: Is Gun Violence a Public Health Problem? (with Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH)

The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared this week that gun violence in the US is a public health crisis. Dr. Murthy publicly stated, in a 39-page advisory, that the U.S needs to treat gun violence in the same way we have tackled smoking or car crashes.

Deaths caused by guns rose to the highest in three decades in 2021. In 2020, firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death of children and adolescents aged 1-19. Gun-related deaths for youths were higher than car accidents, cancer, and heart disease.

To quote Dr. Murthy, 

“I want people to understand the full impact of firearm violence in our country, and I want them to see it as a public health issue. I know it’s been polarizing and I know it’s been politicized, but if we can see it as a public health issue, we can come together and implement a public health solution.”

Also, this week marks two years since since the mass shooting at the July 4th parade in Jeremy’s hometown of Highland Park, Illinois that killed seven people, and injured many more.

Your Doctor Friends decided it was timely to re-release last year’s Independence Day episode.

Our expert for this episode is THE INCOMPARABLE Garen Wintemute MD, MPH:

Dr. Wintemute is Distinguished Professor of Emergency Medicine and Baker–Teret Chair in Violence Prevention at the University of California, Davis.

He is the founding director of the Violence Prevention Research Program there and of the California Firearm Violence Research Center, the nation’s first publicly-funded center for research in this field. Trained initially as a biologist at Yale University, Dr. Wintemute attended medical school and residency at UC Davis and studied epidemiology and injury prevention at The Johns Hopkins University.

He practices and teaches emergency medicine at UC Davis Medical Center, a Level I trauma center, and is a public health leader in the world of violence prevention

Key highlights in this episode include:

Background in the history of gun violence in the US. Where are we now?

What makes the US unique in its struggle with gun violence?

What’s the history of legislation re: gun violence (including assault-type weapons) prevention?

Are there actually more mass shootings now than in previous years?

Does Chicago have more gun violence than other major cities? Why is Chicago so often highlighted?

What is the mental health toll that gun violence takes? How is this being addressed?

What can people do to make a difference in gun violence prevention?

Dr. Wintemute recommends the following resources to learn about gun violence prevention:

The “What Can You Do” Initiative via UC Davis Health.

The Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis (Dr. Wintemute is the founding director 🙂

Clinical tools for preventing firearm injuries at The BulletPoints Project.

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