Outgunned: America’s Public Health Crisis

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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.

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



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.

Presenters' slides:Dr. Garen J. Wintemute: "Outgunned: America’s Public Health Crisis"

David Hemenway: "Outgunned: America’s Public Health Crisis"

Lois Beckett: "Outgunned: America’s Public Health Crisis"

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