Young people living in Chicago and Philadelphia zip codes with the highest gun death tolls are at a higher risk of firearm-related deaths than soldiers in conflict zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Researchers at Brown University and other Northeastern institutions have published public information on all fatal and nonfatal shootings of men ages 18 to 29 in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia between 2020 and 2021. In addition, these figures were compared with US military data on wartime combat-related deaths and injuries in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014 and Iraq from 2003 to 2009.
According to the study published in JAMA Network Open, gun violence is the leading cause of death in children, adolescents, and young adults, and effective responses are necessary. Additionally, the authors state that it is essential to address health inequalities and the underlining violence that causes many behavioral health inequalities.
The American Medical Association (AMA) acknowledges that gun violence is a public health crisis that requires a comprehensive public health response and solutions. The AMA formed the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and has adopted more than 30 policy recommendations to reduce gun violence, injuries, and deaths. To prevent gun violence, the AMA considers risk and preventive factors, uses socio-ecological models and root cause analysis, develops and tests prevention strategies, and implements evidence-based solutions.
AMA policy also advocates for the incorporation of firearms-related violence and suicide epidemiology and evidence-based firearms-related injury prevention education into undergraduate and graduate medical education and training programs. The effects of gun violence on physical and mental health, safety, and wellbeing are significant, affecting healthcare providers, as well as the general public.
The need for public health strategies to address violence remains critical, with trauma surgeons, panelist, and doctors attesting to its growing impact on society. The AMA urges a focus on upstream prevention by changing every procedure that puts someone in danger. Protecting public health and encouraging social change will undoubtedly reduce the number of firearm-related deaths and injuries, creating a safer and healthier society.