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Before the bullets fly: The physician's role in preventing firearm injury

H.O. Abdallah & E.J. Kaufman
Yale J Biol Med

Firearm injury is a disease that is disproportionately prevalent in the United States. When a bullet hits a human being, it brings together multiple structural determinants of health into one acute, life-changing event. Firearm injury can lead to long-term mental and physical challenges for individuals, families, and communities. Despite the impact of this disease, physicians often underestimate their role in not only treating but also preventing firearm injury. Physicians can intervene through screening, counseling, community engagement, and advocacy, and can mobilize the health care systems they serve to engage with injury prevention. Physicians also play a key role in expanding the knowledge base on firearm injury through much-needed research on the epidemiology, context, and outcomes of firearm injury. When we treat firearm injury as a disease, we can develop and implement interventions from the clinic to the statehouse that can curb profound harms. This work and these opportunities belong not only to emergency physicians and trauma surgeons, but to all fields that evaluate and assess patients over the life course.

Abdallah HO, Kaufman EJ. Before the bullets fly: The physician's role in preventing firearm injury. Yale J Biol Med. 2021 Mar 31;94(1):147-152. PMID: 33795991; PMCID: PMC7995933.

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Commentaries & Blogs
Social Determinant of Health