Building Consensus to Decrease Firearm Injuries and Death in the USA: Engaging Medical and Public Health Organizations to Find Common Ground
Purpose of Review
Firearm injury deaths are rising and as of 2017 exceed motor vehicle crash deaths in the USA. We as healthcare professionals treat many of the injured, including those cared for in the network of over 560 ACS-verified trauma centers. In order to address this public health crisis that affects us all, we need to develop a multifaceted public health strategy to decrease and prevent firearm injuries and deaths.
While personal opinions about firearm ownership vary significantly across the USA, an inclusive, consensus-based, public health approach to reducing firearm deaths is possible. This article reviews recent literature on this approach, first building consensus among surgeons and then extending across the entire healthcare professional community.
There is broad support for a public health approach which focuses on the understanding and addressing the underlying causes of violence while also making firearm ownership as safe as possible. This approach requires the expertise and committed support of healthcare and public health providers, along with their professional organizations, healthcare systems, and public health networks which they lead. To achieve the goals of eliminating preventable firearm-related death and disability also requires engaging firearm owners and members from vulnerable communities as key stakeholders in the public health solution. In order to achieve the goals of the public health approach, increased federal and philanthropic research funding is required to identify and evaluate the most effective injury prevention initiatives.
KeywordsFirearms Violence prevention Gun violence Physicians’ role Injury prevention
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Dr. Bulger, Dr. Kuhls, and Dr. Stewart declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors were performed in accordance with all applicable ethical standards including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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