Surgeon General Vivek Murthy states he does not regret calling gun violence a public health issue, despite backlash. Murthy was confirmed in December despite opposition from the National Rifle Association. He has framed gun violence as a public health issue drawing comparisons to seat belts and swimming pool safety. More >>
Three million gallons of heavy-metal filled waste water spilled into the Animas River as the result of a leak during the treatment of contaminated water in Gold King mine in southern Colorado. The EPA has taken full responsibility for the spill. The spill, which caused the river to turn yellow, crossed multiple state lines. A water sample taken briefly after the accident noted that lead levels in the water were 12,000 times higher than normal, and contained very high levels of arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and mercury as well.
The states most affected by the spill are Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Attorney generals of those states have suggested they might pursue litigation individually or collectively, though it is too early to determine whether it is appropriate. More>>
According to the World Health Organization, Cuba has become the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child. An international delegation from the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization arrived in Cuba in March to confirm the country had met the criteria for designation. The Communist Cuban government provides its citizens with universal access to healthcare and coverage, despite Cubans reporting a decline in standards since the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2013 only 2 babies were born with HIV and 5 with syphilis. More>>
Members of the medical community have been advocating for a new approach to resolving gun violence by treating gun violence as a public health problem. This controversial and fairly new approach aims to tackle the conversations on gun control and make them more inclusive of solutions outside of political and ideological argumentation. Doctors and medical associations state that designating gun violence a public health problem will reduce gun related mortality, and that with that designation, doctors could counsel patients on safe gun usage and storage.
Many Republicans and gun lobbyists have opposed this proposal, as they believe it another attempt to restrict gun ownership and potentially seize firearms. However, supporters state that this is not a political matter.
The CDC has already recognized violence as a public health issue with or without the involvement of firearms, and the American College of Physicians has been calling gun violence an epidemic since 1995. While gun violence since then has decreased dramatically, it is still estimated that more than 478,000 fatal and nonfatal violent crimes were committed with a firearm in 2011 according to the Department of Justice. More>>
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on violence as a public health problem. Learn more about Tulane research projects.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine has determined that bribery more effective method of reducing smoking than other incentives. A comparison of five different smoking cessation techniques among over 2,000 CVS Caremark employees, it was noted that techniques requiring an up-front cash deposit that would be taken away if the participant didn’t successfully quit were more effective than those that offered a cash reward. These techniques leverage the aversion people have to losing money. While people were more likely to enroll in simple rewards-based programs, programs with the deposit feature were twice as likely to be effective as smoking cessation techniques. More>>
According to a recent study, approximately one in four children in the US will be exposed to weapon violence before their eighteenth birthday. The same study reports that one in 33 children will be directly assaulted in incidents involving knives or guns. In total, this amounts to 17.5 million children in the U.S. being witnesses to, or victims of, assaults with weapons. This number far exceeds the numbers of children with diabetes or cancer.
Data for the study was collected via a national telephone survey of 4,114 children between the ages of 2 and 17. Parents or caregivers provided answers for children under the age of 10. The study found that boys, minorities, and children from low-income families or households not headed by two biological or adoptive parents were most likely to be exposed to weapon violence.
Children exposed to regular violence are more likely to suffer from “toxic stress” which affects neurological development and can lead to future health problems. Regular exposure to stress has been linked to immune system problems, heart disease, nervous system complications and mental health disorders. More >>