On Tuesday, Seattle-King County Public Health published a statement with their intent to decrease gun violence. The blog was posted by Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.
About Dr. Duchin: “Jeff served for over 15 years as Chief of the Public Health’s Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Section. Jeff trained as a Medical Epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) after which he completed the CDC’s Preventive Medicine Residency program.”
See his full bio here.
The doctor is on Twitter. Here’s a few of his tweets:
- March 15: “Why Are White Men Stockpiling Guns? https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/why-are-white-men-stockpiling-guns/?wt.mc=SA_Twitter-Share … via @sciam”
- March 14: ““From fighting cancer to decreasing road traffic fatalities, public health research has played a critical role in saving lives…,” Ms. Murray wrote to Mr. Azar. But the NRA opposes CDC studying gun violence and congress has refused to fund it.”
- (Hey doc, you might want to check and see who is actually suppressing gun research data.)
- January 10: “If you’re going to use heroin, don’t be alone, Seattle police say”
The blog post by Seattle-King County Public Health talks about suicide and firearm-related injuries including statistics, deaths and costs to taxpayers. Read the full blog post here.
Here are excerpts from the agency’s new pledge:
“For that reason, Public Health is joining with leading medical professional associations to form a new collaboration with a renewed commitment to decrease firearm-related injury and deaths by working together and using a public health approach.
Prevention is the core of a public health approach, and firearm injuries and deaths can be prevented. We must address prevention of firearm-related injuries in the same way we do for other types of injuries, poisonings, and infectious and chronic diseases, using a public health approach that includes:
- Screening to identify patients with risk factors for firearm-related injury
- Educating patients and families about risk factors, firearm safety and injury prevention as we do for other diseases and causes of injury – gun owners and non-gun owners alike understand the importance of firearm safety
- Gathering data and conducting research on risk and protective factors for firearm related injury and death in order to make evidence-based recommendations and strategies
- Promoting the adoption of successful prevention strategies, including those addressing upstream drivers of violence, such as childhood abuse, neglect and trauma, poverty, substance use disorders, disrupted families and communities, and being a victim of violence
- Fostering multidisciplinary and community collaborations with stakeholders interested in reducing firearm-related injury and death, including gun-owners
The medical community has an important role in this work. You can read our joint statement, which includes a description of our approach and examples of actions healthcare providers can take to reduce firearm-related injury and death, at https://www.kingcounty.gov/firearm-injuries-ph.
(WARNING: I tried clicking on the link to read the document and each time I did my computer froze. Not sure if it’s just my computer or the Public Health link.)
This collaboration among healthcare provider professional organizations is the first of many steps local and statewide medical professionals can take together to reduce firearm injury and death in our communities. We invite other healthcare professional organizations to join us by endorsing our statement and/or participating in our future work.”
MyNorthwest.com has some more details:
“Those efforts include joining with experts at Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Washington State Medical Association, King County Medical Society, and other state and local medical groups to recommend more screening and education for patients of all ages, including everything from identifying risk factors to talking to them about the importance of safely storing guns.
It recommends medical professionals should also respect beliefs of lawful firearm owners in order to effectively communicate. Also, to use healthcare providers who are also gun owners to provide leadership and knowledge on the issue.”
I wonder if any of the “data” gathered by doctors could be used in the future to determine if compliance is being achieved with Mayor Durkan’s proposed new gun legislation?