Framing Gun Violence As a Public Health Crisis

It has been twelve days because of that bad bloodbath at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and it stays in the middle of our countrywide conversation. It is a good element—and a surprising factor, given the neverendingness of gun violence on this u. S. A .—that we’re nevertheless speaking approximately it. But we are, fortunately.

As a long way as that thanks is going, we need to offer it at once to the scholar leaders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, whose eloquence and passion, and sheer bravery retain to stir and amaze a country. Their voices, frankly, are maintaining this verbal exchange alive in an utter vacuum of courageous leadership in authorities.

The route restoration appears straightforward, if no longer quite easy, to a lot of us: Get rid of those mass-killing machines—or at the least control who can get them and while. Australia, as I wrote in our Brainstorm Health Daily newsletter six days ago (see “How Australia All But Ended Gun Violence”), appears to have controlled this feat nicely…and effortlessly.

But there may be, perhaps, a more holistic technique to this very American disorder that we ought to examine—and that’s treating gun violence as a public fitness crisis (which I wrote approximately in October, lamentably, after the Las Vegas attack weapon massacre). At the center of that effort is an extremely good man named Dr. Garen Wintemute, an ER doc and professor at the University of California, Davis, who directs the university’s Violence Prevention Research Program.

But there’s, perhaps, an extra holistic approach to this very American dysfunction that we ought to examine—and that’s treating gun violence as a public health disaster (which I wrote about in October, sadly, after the Las Vegas assault weapon massacre). In the middle of that effort is a tremendous guy named Dr. Garen Wintemute, an ER doc and professor at the University of California, Davis, who directs the college’s Violence Prevention Research Program.


I am excited to mention Dr. Wintemute will be coming to this year’s Fortune Brainstorm Health meeting on March 19-20 to engage in what I know will be an effective communique on this subject matter. Joining us could be Dr. Dean Winslow, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, who changed into selected to lead healthcare on the Pentagon—and whose appointment was held up utilizing the Senate after he dared to speak approximately the dangers of weapons like AR-15s. (I urge you to study his current op-ed in the Washington Post.)

It’s one in every of a gazillion conversations at our 0.33 annual Fortune Brainstorm Health collecting that I am extraordinarily eager to have. I anticipate it to be as inspirational and as answer-filled as it could be, notion-scary and (likely) infuriating. I’ll proportion a few greater approximately our terrific lineup of audio systems and topics in tomorrow’s newsletter. In the meantime, if you’re interested in coming, please click on the link right here. While the conference is invitation-handiest (because of its intimate size—sorry), I encourage you to use it. For me, at any fee, it has been an existence-changing occasion.

“Our kingdom’s first population [American Indians] are tormented by the various worst health disparities inside the global, and that shouldn’t be appropriate to every person,” says Donald Warne, MD, MPH, in his article inside the Winter 2008 edition of The Pain Practitioner, the reliable Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management. While studying for his Masters in Public Health, Dr. Warne gathered these startling and disturbing statistics approximately this ignored population in our fitness care system.

“Death costs from preventable diseases among [American Indians] are notably higher than among non-Indians:

* Diabetes (Type 2): 291% extra

* Alcoholism: 638% greater

* Accidents: 215% greater

* Suicide: ninety-one % greater”

Dr. Warne suggests that those problems are synergistically related, reminding us to study the triad of diabetes, despair, and alcoholism. Depression is not unusual amongst people with diabetes; alcohol is a convenient tool for self-medicine. Alcohol increases blood sugar tiers, and alcohol and its outcomes can also exacerbate depression and lead to suicide.

The high rates of alcoholism and sort 2 diabetes are related to neuropathy — nerve harm and nerve pain. Over time, people with diabetes may additionally expand Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN). Painful DPN may also feel like burning, throbbing, or painful tingling in the extremities, fingers, and/or toes. Self-medicinal drug for these painful symptoms often includes alcohol and abuse of prescription pain medicinal drugs on this underserved populace. This leads to much less of a willingness of the medical community to provide narcotics, when needed, for those sufferers.

The healing solution for the ethnic American Indian community involves expertise and utilization of the scientific wheel machine. “The medicine wheel, the traditional and ancient Lakota image for medicine, symbolizes stability in our lives. The wheel is divided into four segments; bodily, emotional, intellectual, and nonsecular.” When an American Indian is dealt with by way of an allopathic health practitioner, the health practitioner wishes to cope with now not most effective the physical component (high blood sugar) however also the culturally appropriate attention of the affected person. In conventional American Indian cultures, the medicinal drug includes a religious realm and is a recuperation force, now not in control of man — neither the doctor nor the affected person. “The traditional healers had been channeling that energy in the proper path; however, they did now not very own that electricity.”

The current water disaster in Flint, MI, has drawn countrywide attention to the disaster of lead infection. In fact, the fitness risks posed by the substance have been recognized in view that at the least the Middle Ages. In the U.S., there are legal guidelines in location to restrict the fitness effects. However, many people still are available in contact with the substance via substances that predate the regulations. While growing older water infrastructure is absolutely a reason for the situation, it’s far from the only way human beings are uncovered to unsafe tiers of lead. It is a way extra, not unusual, for people to be exposed thru the paint internal in their domestic or workplace. Before renovating older homes, it’s important to perform a lead inspection and take precautionary measures to save you from entering the blood.


Writer. Pop culture buff. Certified alcohol trailblazer. Tv nerd. Music fanatic. Professional problem solver. Explorer. Uniquely-equipped for working on Easter candy in Las Vegas, NV. Uniquely-equipped for analyzing toy monkeys for the government. Spent a year testing the market for action figures in Minneapolis, MN. Spent high school summers donating walnuts in Phoenix, AZ. Earned praised for my work researching human brains in Orlando, FL. Spent college summers writing about pubic lice in Washington, DC.