Framing Gun Violence As a Public Health Crisis—Part 2

February 26, 2018, 9:57 PM UTC

It has been twelve days since the horrific massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and it remains at the center of our national conversation. It is a good thing—and a surprising thing, given the neverendingness of gun violence in this country—that we are still talking about it. But we are, thankfully.

As far as that thanks goes, we ought to offer it directly to the student leaders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, whose eloquence and passion and sheer bravery continue to stir and amaze a nation. It is their voices, frankly, who are keeping this conversation alive in an utter vacuum of courageous leadership in government.

The fix, of course, seems straightforward, if not quite easy, to many of us: Get rid of these mass-killing machines—or at least control who can get them and when. Australia, as I wrote in our Brainstorm Health Daily newsletter six days ago (see “How Australia All But Ended Gun Violence”), appears to have managed this feat well…and easily.

But there is, perhaps, a more holistic approach to this very American dysfunction that we ought to examine—and that’s treating gun violence as a public health crisis (which I wrote about in October, sadly, after the Las Vegas assault weapon massacre). At the center of that effort is an extraordinary man named Dr. Garen Wintemute, an ER doc and professor at the University of California, Davis, who directs the university’s Violence Prevention Research Program.

I am excited to say Dr. Wintemute will be coming to this year’s Fortune Brainstorm Health meeting on March 19-20 to engage in what I know will be a powerful conversation on this topic. Joining us will be Dr. Dean Winslow, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, who was selected to lead healthcare at the Pentagon—and whose appointment was held up by the Senate after he dared to talk about the dangers of guns like AR-15s. (I urge you to read his recent op-ed in the Washington Post.)

It’s one of a gazillion conversations at our third annual Fortune Brainstorm Health gathering that I am incredibly eager to have. I expect it to be as inspirational and as solution-filled as it will be thought-provoking and (in all likelihood) infuriating.

I’ll share some more about our amazing lineup of speakers and topics in tomorrow’s newsletter.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in coming, please click on the link here. While the conference is invitation-only (due to its intimate size—sorry), I do encourage you to apply. For me, at any rate, it has been a life-changing event.

This essay appears in today’s edition of the Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Read More

COVID VaccinesReturn to WorkMental Health