While firearm violence is a major public health challenge in the United States, it has often been considered a law enforcement issue with only law enforcement solutions. An article by two University of Pennsylvania researchers advises that treating firearm violence as a disease and taking a public health approach to prevention and treatment can help reduce its harms.
Key to achieving that goal will be to overcome legislative mandates around research funding which have hampered investigators from establishing careers studying firearm violence and building a body of evidence. An important step this year is the allocation of $25 million in the federal budget to NIH and CDC specifically targeted to the study of firearm violence.
"Federal funding around firearm violence research lags far behind the burden of disease," says Therese S. Richmond, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research & Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing). The consequences of firearm violence are broad and deep for individuals, families, and communities.
Reducing the impact of firearm violence is contingent upon building a solid evidence base. Without this base, effective interventions may be under-used and ineffective ones may waste our collective time and money." Elinore J. Kaufman, MD, MSHP, co-author from Penn's Perelman School of Medicine Related Stories
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