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Tufts Public Health » Violence

Gun Violence, a Public Health Issue?

In the wake of another deadly school shooting, the question of gun violence as a public health issue has yet again been proposed. However, unlike most major public health questions, there is a severe deficiency in evidence supporting either side of the political rhetoric on gun control. The origin of this knowledge gap is often accredited to a 1996 congressional amendment. Commonly referred to as the “Dickey Amendment,” named after the Arkansas House Representative that championed it, Jay Dickey, the amendment prohibits the CDC from promoting or advocating gun control through its research. While the amendment doesn’t explicitly ban research on gun violence, it has served as a means of controlling the priorities of the CDC, similar to the CDC budget document censorship. A 2017 article in JAMA concluded that gun … Read entire article »

Filed under: Injuries, Mental Health, Violence

Supporting refugees: A public health perspective

“Some bullets came to my house and went through the window,” said Murhaf, who fled Syria with his family two years ago and came to the United States, in an interview with Kaiser Health News (KHN). “I was afraid for the safety of my kids. They never sleep.” Murfah and his family fled their homeland to escape war. Other people have struggled in similar situations over time, and the international community has gathered before to discuss the needs and rights of people oppressed in their homeland. Following widespread displacement of populations during the First and Second World War, the United Nations held a conference in Geneva. This 1951 Convention defines a refugee as someone who, due to “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disparities, Immigration, Mental Health, Refugees, Violence

Using a Public Health Approach for Violence Prevention

On December 14th, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. It has been two years since that fateful and tragic day, and many parts of the country are still terrorized by the threat of violence. Violence emerged as a public health problem in the late 1970s and early 1980s, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish the Violence Epidemiology Branch (later integrated into the Division of Injury Epidemiology). They recognized that violence could have numerous health effects, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, and even death. With these health consequences in mind, CDC and public health officials began to think about treating violence much as they would treat other health issues. Dr. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Violence