Skip to main content.

Outgunned: America’s Public Health Crisis

In just the past five months, 100 people have been shot to death in three mass shootings in Florida, Nevada and Texas. The carnage has left Americans hungry for a deeper understanding of what drives such violence and how we might collectively respond to the terrifying recurrence of such atrocities. Yet mass shootings are just a small part of the story of America’s epidemic of gun violence. While such attacks receive wall-to-wall coverage, more than 30,000 people are killed in gun-related deaths across the country every year. Meanwhile, Congress has blocked the CDC from funding research on the problem. While regulating guns is a famously divisive issue in the U.S., how might an exploration of gun violence as a public health problem shift the debate and allow for new ways of addressing this urgent crisis? This webinar will feature insights from two of the country’s leading researchers on gun violence and one of the country’s top reporters on the topic, providing reporters and policy thinkers with crucial data, context and story suggestions for a uniquely American epidemic of deaths and injury.

WHEN: March 13, from 10-11 a.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. ET

REGISTER: [Now closed]

Our panelists include:

David Hemenway, Ph.D., is a professor of health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Dr. Hemenway teaches classes on injury and on economics, and has written widely on injury prevention, including articles on firearms, violence, suicide, child abuse, motor vehicle crashes, fires, falls and fractures. Hemenway headed the pilot for the National Violent Death Reporting System, which provides detailed and comparable information on suicide and homicide. In 2012 he was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the “twenty most influential injury and violence professionals over the past twenty years. Hemenway has written five books, including “Private Guns Public Health” (2006), which describes the public health approach to reducing firearm violence, and summarized the scientific studies on the firearms and health. He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.

Garen J. Wintemute, M.D., M.P.H., is a professor of emergency medicine at the University of California, Davis and the director of the University of California Violence Prevention Research Program. Wintemute is a pioneer in the field of injury epidemiology and the prevention of firearm violence. In the 1980s, he was among the first to look at the problem of guns and violence as a public-health issue and emphasize the importance of prevention. Wintemute has conducted and published findings from numerous studies on gun accessibility, connections between gun ownership and violence, and related topics. He has testified before Congress and served as a consultant for the National Institute of Justice; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He obtained his medical degree from the UC Davis School of Medicine and holds a masters in public health from John Hopkins University. 

Lois Beckett is a senior reporter for the Guardian who covers gun policy, criminal justice and the far right in the United States. Before joining the Guardian, Beckett was a reporter for ProPublica, where she also reported on gun violence and gun policy, among other topics. Her Essence Magazine story on PTSD caused by gun violence, “Black America’s Invisible Crisis,” won a 2015 Deadline Award for public service and a NABJ Salute to Excellence Award in investigative journalism. She is a frequent guest on nationally syndicated TV and radio programs such as CNN Newsroom and NPR’s On Point. Along with Olga Pierce and Jeff Larson, she won the 2011 Livingston Award for National Reporting, and she was a finalist for a 2012 Livingston Award. Earlier in her career, she covered innovation in the news industry for SF Weekly and the Nieman Journalism Lab.

 Webinars are free and made possible by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. 

Presenters' slides:

Dr. Garen J. Wintemute:

Prof. David Hemenway:

Lois Beckett:


Reading list: 


How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives,” by Lois Beckett, ProPublica

Gun control — a Guardian investigation: America's gun problem is so much bigger than mass shootings,” by Lois Beckett, Rich Harris, Nadja Popovich, Jan Diehm and Mona Chalabi, The Guardian 

Want to fix gun violence in America? Go local.” By Aliza Aufrichtig, Lois Beckett, Jan Diehm and Jamiles Lartey, The Guardian

Grasping for change on America's most violent streets: ‘We must stop killing’” by Jamiles Lartey, Jan Diehm and Aliza Aufrichtig, The Guardian

America's response to school massacres? A booming classroom security industry,” by Lois Beckett, The Guardian

What If We Treated Gun Violence Like A Public Health Crisis?” by Alison Kodjak, NPR

Why Can’t the U.S. Treat Gun Violence as a Public-Health Problem?” by Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic

There’s scientific consensus on guns — and the NRA won't like it,” by David Hemenway, Los Angeles Times

A UC Davis ER doctor searches for patterns to try to stop gun violence before it happens,” by Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

Meet the Doctor Who Gave $1 Million of His Own Money to Keep His Gun Research Going,” by Lois Beckett

Black America's Invisible Crisis,” by Lois Beckett, Essence

For This Man, Reducing Gun Violence Is A Life’s Mission,” by Cynthia Craft, KHN

We aren’t having an evidence-based debate about guns,” by Dylan Scott, Vox

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns,” by Heather Sher, The Atlantic

Healthcare Triage video series: Public Health & Safety, by Aaron Carroll

The True Cost of Gun Violence in America,” by Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee, and James West, Mother Jones


Private Guns, Public Health,” by David Hemenway, book review, New England Journal of Medicine

Teachers with Guns: Firearms Discharges by Schoolteachers, 1980-2012,” by Sarah A. Buck, Erica Yurvati, and Dallas S. Drake, Center for Homicide Research

Funding and Publication of Research on Gun Violence and Other Leading Causes of Death,” by David E. Stark, MD and Nigam H. Shah, PhD

State Firearm Laws and Interstate Firearm Deaths From Homicide and Suicide in the United States: A Cross-sectional Analysis of Data by County,” by Elinore J. Kaufman et al., JAMA IM

Data resources
Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States,” by Katherine A. Fowler et al., Pediatrics
Other resources


The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 National Fellowship will provide $2,000 to $10,000 reporting grants, five months of mentoring from a veteran journalist, and a week of intensive training at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles from July 16-20. Click here for more information and the application form, due May 5.


Follow Us



CHJ Icon