Craig Newgard, M.D., M.P.H., director of OHSU’s Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine, was recently recognized by Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM) for his research on gun violence mapping. Newgard et al.’s paper, “A geospatial analysis of severe firearm injuries compared to other injury mechanisms: Event characteristics, location, timing, and outcomes,” was chosen by AEM’s Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Kline, M.D., as May’s feature.
In this study, Newgard and his team performed a secondary analysis of children and adults injured by one of four injury mechanisms (firearm, stabbing, assault, and motor vehicle collision [MVC]) who were brought to trauma centers in 10 regions of the U.S. and Canada. They then used statistics and geospatial analysis to compare the injury groups, distance from home, outcomes, and spatial clustering. What they found is that severe firearm injuries have the highest rates of serious injury, resource use, and in-hospital deaths when compared to other forms of violent and non-violent injuries. Most violent injury events occur in the patient’s neighborhood, frequently within the patient’s home, and are most common in the evening or night. And while many violent injuries cluster in lower income areas, most firearm injuries occur outside any geographic cluster, in all types of neighborhoods. These findings provide a blueprint for public health efforts to focus on the home environment in all types of neighborhoods to reduce gun violence specifically.
Kline commented on the results of Newgard’s study that show “violence occurs as a density function of people, poverty, and weapons. The most important finding is that severe interpersonal violence occurs in geographic clusters, suggesting a role for concentration of resources in these areas…No student or resident or young faculty member needs to go to Liberia to find poverty and social disaster that needs their help. They just need to go to Birmingham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Memphis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, or Seattle-King County, Wash.”
This paper was co-authored by investigators from the University of Washington, OHSU (Karen J. Brasel, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.), UT Southwestern Medical Center, the University of Pittsburgh, St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium.