Welcome

Current Highlights

April 2, 2014

Visiting Suicide Scholar from Hong Kong
Dr. Sylvia Kwok, Associate Professor of Applied Social Sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, joined HICRC for three days.  Dr. Kwok’s research focus is on the use of positive psychology to reduce depression, anxiety and suicidality among children and adolescents.  At HICRC, she presented findings from her most recent interventions in Hong Kong schools.

February 3, 2014

Report to Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Gun Violence
An 8-person advisory committee to Speaker DeLeo issued their report listening 44 recommendations to reduce firearm violence in the Commonwealth.  The committee included police, a criminal defense attorney, mental health experts,  and academics, including David Hemenway.  Four of the members have concealed carry permits.  All of the recommendations were approved unanimously.  They included background checks for all gun transfers, suitability standards for firearm identification cards, firearm safety training to include live fire and a module on suicide, tax credits for the purchase of a gun safe, and increased funding for diversion programs for juvenile offenders.

January 20, 2014

A gun in the home increases the risk of suicide
An editorial (“Guns, Suicide, and Homicide: Individual-Level vs Population-Level Studies”) in the Annals of Internal Medicine discusses the findings of a meta-analysis of case-control studies that concludes that having a gun in the home substantially increases the risk of completed suicide.  In the editorial, David Hemenway comments that the ecological studies are equally compelling and reach the same conclusion.  The meta-analysis of case-control studies on guns in the home and homicide show a stronger relationship with female than with male victimization.  This is because while women are often shot by their partners, most men are murdered not with a gun in the home, but outside the home by other men using their own guns.

December  7, 2013

More guns in cities means more gun suicide, more total suicide
An article in Injury Prevention by Matthew Miller and other HICRC researchers finds that across metropolitan areas, higher rates of firearm ownership are strongly associated with higher rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide, but not with non-firearm suicide.  Prior ecological studies had usually focused on states and regions–also supporting the more guns-more suicide hypothesis.  Results are consistent with the dozen or more case control studies that find a gun in the home is a risk factor for suicide.

November 7, 2013

Dahianna Lopez honored by the Boston Police Department
For her work in helping to create the first city-wide report on bicycle safety and bicycle crashes for the city of Boston, Dahianna received a Commissioner’s Commendation “in recognition for exemplary police services to the people of Boston.  Your efforts have improved public safety and the quality of like in our city.”

November 7, 2013

HICRC Injury Seminar.  Peter Donnelly, Professor of Public Health Policy at St. Andrews University, Scotland will speak on the “Public Health Approach to Violence Prevention.”  All welcome.

Thursday 12:30-1:20.  Room 502 Kresge

May 30, 2013

Dahianna Lopez works to create first Boston bicycle safety report
To solve a problem we need to know what is going on.  University-wide Health Policy PhD student Dahianna Lopez–who worked at the San Francisco injury center and is now with HICRC–in collaboration with the Boston Police Department (BPD) and the Boston Cyclists Union, analyzed the narratives of all BPD bicycle crash reports.  Boston Mayor Thomas Menino released the report in mid-May.  Unlike shootings, bike crashes occur throughout the city, and especially on major thoroughfares.  Taxi cabs (e.g., doorings) are a major hazard.  Road changes in certain locations can dramatically reduce the risk.  Dahianna was funded by the Boston Area Research Initiative.
Dahianna will be spending the summer in Denver working as a Summer Transportation intern for the US Department of Transportation.

May 17, 2013

Matt Miller wins HSPH mentoring award
Matthew Miller, co-director of HICRC won the school-wide award as the best mentor at Harvard School of Public Health.  Suicide is the leading cause of injury death in the United States and Matt teaches a course on suicide prevention, one of the only suicide courses taught at a public health school.  He also teaches an undergraduate course on international violence prevention. Matt is a teacher who really cares about his students.  Congratulations Matt!!

April 23, 2013

Preventing gun violence by changing social norms
David Hemenway has a Viewpoint in JAMA- Internal Medicine  that describes many social norms that can be changed to reduce gun violence, with examples of relevant successes from other areas.

April 15, 2013

Public health approach to the prevention of gun violence
David Hemenway and Matthew Miller have a Sounding Board article in the New England Journal of Medicine that describes the public health approach with respect to gun violence.  It emphasizes that manufacturers and distributors of firearms could do much more than currently to reduce our large public health problem.

April 10, 2013

Responding to the Newtown Tragedy
The tragic shooting in Newtown brought unprecedented demand for information about firearms.  We have appeared on TV and radio programs around the world (e.g., Brazil, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the Arab world) and U.S. stations with broad syndication (e.g., MSNBC-TV, CNN, CSPAN, NBC Nightly News, PBS, and National Public Radio’s “On Point,” “Talk of the Nation,” “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.” We have been interviewed and provided background information and guidance to reporters from scores of publications, including webnews outlets such a ProPublica and the Huffington Post, fact-checking organizations, and prominent bloggers.  We have been quoted in national, city and college newspapers, have given presentations at national, state and local symposia, helped fledgling groups, and written policy articles.  We have helped inform the New York Times editorial board and provided input to National Public Radio’s coverage of firearm violence.

March 1, 2013

States with stronger firearm laws have fewer gun deaths
Researchers at Boston Children’s hospital and David Hemenway have a study in JAMA-Internal Medicine that finds that states with more firearm laws have lower rates of firearm suicide and firearm homicide.  Eric Fleegler is lead author.

January 30, 2013

Curbing gun violence: lessons from public health successes
HSPH faculty, including David Hemenway have an opinion piece in JAMA arguing that reductions in tobacco use and in child poisonings, and improvements in motor vehicle safety, provide lessons for firearm firearm violence reduction.

January 8, 2013

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis
David Hemenway participated in a panel on gun violence at the Harvard School of Public Health on January 8th at 12:30. The event was broadcast webcast live, and available online. More information.


December 27, 2012

Newtown Tragedy
HICRC researchers have been hard at work sharing what is known about the effects of firearm availability in the US since the terrible tragedy in Newtown on December 14. David Hemenway was a guest on NPR’s “On Point” as well as on CNN radio, and was interviewed for USA Today. Matt Miller was interviewed for Wisconsin Public Radio on the Kathleen Dunn show on December 19th (you can search for the episode here) and also on CNN.

Additional HICRC/Newtown news: ABC Australia Al Jazeera Australian Popular Science Anniston Star Business Week FactCheck.org Forbes Harvard Business Review Harvard Gazette Huffington Post Kitsap Sun Minnesota Post MSNBC New York Times New Yorker Palm Beach Post Psychology Today Times-Standard Washington Post The World WBUR WGBH


October 16, 2012

HICRC Seminar Series:
Thursday October 25, 2012.  12:30-1:30.  Kresge Building (677 Huntington Avenue) Room 502.  “Honor-based Violence: Characteristics, Public Health Implications and Prevention”  Dr. Karl Roberts, Center for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism.  MacQuarie University, Sydney, Australia


October 15, 2012

New England Injury Conference
For practitioners and researchers. “Perspectives on Enhancing Injury Prevention Research and Practice.”  Wednesday October 24, 2012.  8:30-4:30  At the Education Development Center, 43 Foundry Avenue, in Waltham MA.  Only $50 ($25 for students) that includes lunch, coffee, parking, conference flash drive AND 7 CEUs.

To register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/injuryprevention_oct24reg.  Or email Garry Lapidus at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Glapidu@ccmckids.org.


September 15, 2012

Reducing Means Availability to Prevent Suicide
Two recent publications by MattMiller, with Deb Azrael and Cathy Barber summarize the importance of attending to method when trying to reduce suicide.

Matthew Miller, Deborah Azrael, Catherine Barber.  “Suicide Mortality in the United States: The Importance of Attending to Method in Understanding Population-Level Disparities in the Burden of Suicide”  Annual Review of Public Health, 2012: 33:393-408.

Matthew Miller.  “Preventing Suicide by Preventing Lethal Injury: The Need to Act on What We Already Know” American Journal of Public Health. 2012: 102Supp1:e1-3.


July 31, 2012

More on Aurora
David Hemenway spoke with Nicholas Kristof for his article in the New York Times. The NYT also highlighted a HICRC review on homicide. Additional HICRC/Aurora coverage here.


July 24, 2012

Commentary on Aurora tragedy
National Geographic’s science blog posted about the tragedy in Aurora last week, with comments from Matthew Miller.


July 2, 2012

David Hemenway selected as a CDC 20 for 20 Leader in Violence and Injury Prevention
In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, the Injury Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a “20 for 20 Project” which pays tribute “to 20 leaders and visionaries who have had a transformative effect on the field on violence and injury prevention.”  The 20 for 20 leaders, selected by a panel of their peers, includes five with connections to the Harvard School of Public Health.

(1)    William Haddon, Jr. MD, MPH (deceased, first director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission) and HSPH graduate

(2)    Etienne Krug, MD, MPH (Director, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, World Health Organization) and HSPH graduate

(3)    Mark Rosenberg, MD, MPP, former director of the CDC injury center and former HSPH lecturer

(4)    Deborah Prothrow-Stith, MD,  Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Public Health at HSPH and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health, and

(5)    David Hemenway, PhD, Professor of Health Policy at HSPH, and Director of the Harvard Injury Control  Research Center.

CDC extends to these leaders “our warmest appreciation for their tireless work and dedication to making the world safer, healthier, and less violent.”


June 14, 2012

David Hemenway received Distinguished Honoree Award from Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
David Hemenway received the Distinguished Honoree Award at the 19th Anniversary Dinner of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence on June 14, 2012 in San Francisco “for his work exposing the complexities of the relationships between gun violence and self-defense, schools, homicide and more.  His research, teaching and writing have provided critical resources to the gun violence prevention movement and thus, to the effort to reduce death and injury due to firearms.”


April 16, 2012

David Hemenway interviewed on PolitiFact.com Joe Biden quote
David Hemenway was interviewed for a PolitiFact.com article on a Joe Biden quote on gun violence.  Read article here.


April 9, 2012

Washington ad campaign uses data from Private Guns, Public Health
A public health ad campaign “Know the facts” started by Washington Ceasefire, a group aiming to reduce gun violence in Washington state, uses data from David’s book.  Read more about the story here.


April 5, 2012

Dahianna Lopez interviewed by WBZ-TV on ‘Google Glasses’
HICRC’s Dahianna Lopez was interviewed by WBZ-TV (CBS) on the potential for injury while wearing ‘Google Glasses.’ Read the full report here.


April 4, 2012

David Hemenway speaks at ‘One Harvard: Lectures that Last’
David Hemenway was one of twelve speakers invited to speak at the inaugural ‘One Harvard: Lectures that Last’ series organized by the Harvard Graduate Council. Read more about this event here.


February 23, 2012

HICRC research cited in veteran suicide-related firearms risks article
HICRC research by Hemenway and Miller is cited in an article discussing the suicide-related risks of not allowing army commanders to question their troops about private firearms kept off base. Read article here.


December 22, 2011

While We were Sleeping recommended reading by Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader listed Hemenway’s book While We were Sleeping as one of his top holiday reading recommendations. He described the book as “an ode to brave legislators and regulators.” Read the rest of the review here.


November 22, 2011

Hemenway honored for work in youth violence prevention
Last week, David Hemenway was given the Striving for Justice award by Community Works, a collective of over 30 social justicie organizations, for his work applying a public health approach to youth violence prevention. Read more.


October 24, 2011

The “Twinkie Defense”: teen soda drinking study causes stir
A new study conducted by David Hemenway and Sara Solnick (University of Vermont) has generated a flurry of attention in the media world-wide.  The study, published in Injury Prevention and citing data from our Boston Youth Survey, found a link between teen violence perpetration and high soft drink consumption.
Read the article abstract or purchase the full article here.
See below for selected news coverage:


September 22, 2011

Hemenway honored by local and national organizations
In November, David Hemenway will receive a “Striving for Justice” award from Massachusetts-based Community Works, a network of 34 local social justice organizations working towards long-term systemic change. David will also be the keynote speaker and honoree for the Legal Community Against Violence 19th Anniversary Dinner in June 2012 in San Francisco. Congrats David!


August 1, 2011

Matthew Miller selected by APHA for “Excellence in Science Award”
Congratulations to Dr. Miller for being selected by APHA’s Injury Control and Emergency Health Services (ICEHS) Section for this year’s Excellence in Science Award. This award recognizes an individual for outstanding dedication and leadership in the science of injury control and emergency health services, with contributions and achievements that have a significant and long term impact on the field.


June 8, 2011

Matthew Miller honored at Harvard School of Public Health
Congratulations to Dr. Miller, one of four faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health to receive a Teaching Citation at graduation this year, for his course on suicide prevention. Great work!


May 4, 2011

Primary vs. Secondary Seat Belt Laws
Our home state of Massachusetts is considering primary enforcement of its seat belt law, meaning a motorist can be pulled over for not wearing his/her seat belt, as opposed to only receiving a ticket for this violation if pulled over for another offense (known as “secondary” seat belt law enforcement). We find the scientific evidence quite convincing that moving from secondary to primary enforcement 1) increases seat belt use, and 2) reduces death and injury from motor vehicle crashes. Download a quick list of studies on this issue.


April 27, 2011

Bulletins: Australia’s Gun Buyback
It is our pleasure to present the fourth issue of Bulletins, our newsletter summarizing key topics within firearms research. This issue examines research concerning effects of the massive 1996 gun buyback in Australia, and finds reductions in homicide as well as suicide.
Download Issue 4: Australian Gun Buyback (PDF)
Sign up to receive alerts when a new issue of Bulletins is released


April 26, 2011

Risks vs. Benefits of a Gun in the Home
A literature review by David Hemenway, published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, finds that having a gun in the home poses greater health risks than benefits. This press release from the publisher includes (for a limited time) a link to the full article.


April 11, 2011

The Unintentional Injurer: A New Area of Exploration in Injury Research
A new study by David Hemenway and Sara Solnick examines those who cause unintentional injuries to others, and finds differences between those who cause sports-related vs. other injuries. This innovative study shows that other people can be involved in an unintentional injury and argues that injury researchers should begin to examine the role of the unintentional injurer. Read the abstract.


April 6, 2011

Depression and Suicide Attempts
At this year’s meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR), Mary Vriniotis presented work by Deb Azrael, Matt Miller, and Cathy Barber on Suicide Attempts among those with and without Major Depressive Disorder using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They found that of those who attempted suicide during the previous year and went through a mental health screening, 43% of people did not screen positive for a past year major depressive episode. This indicates that reliance on mental health screening may miss a significant portion of suicide attempts. Contact Deb Azrael for more information.


March 23, 2011

Minnesota Public Radio Op-Ed on Recent Gun Violence
This article features a quote from David Hemenway.


February 23, 2011

Editorial on Tucson Shootings in Arizona Daily Star
David Hemenway’s editorial can be found here.


January 25, 2011

New York Times Article on Firearms Research Cites HICRC’s Matthew Miller
Read article here.


January 13, 2011

Glass Fireplace Enclusures Burn Injuries Report
David Hemenway did an interview with 89.3 KPCC Southern California Pubic radio about glass fireplace enclusures burn risk.  Read article here.


January 12, 2011

Interview with David Hemenway in The New York Times re: Arizona Shootings
Read article here.


January 11, 2011

Boston Globe opinion piece on the shootings in Arizona mentions a recent HICRC study
Read article here.


January 11, 2011

Response to January 5th school shooting in Omaha, NE
David Hemenway was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald in this response. Read article here.


January 10, 2011

Interviews re: shootings in Arizona
We at HICRC are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Arizona over the weekend. David Hemenway was interviewed by Rachel Gotbaum on Radio Boston today (WBUR)– listen here. Mary Vriniotis was interviewed on the Emily Rooney show (WGBH), which devoted the whole hour to the shootings- listen here (listen at 0:37 for Mary).

More press coverage of the Arizona shootings:


January 4, 2011

Most adolescent firearm suicides completed with parents’ guns
The December 2010 issue of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior contains a study led by Renee Johnson on the source of firearms in teen suicides. Looking at data on youth suicides from the National Violent Injury Statistics System (the pilot for CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System) 81% took place in the decedents’ homes, and of the cases where the firearm owner could be identified, most were owned by the parents. Read the abstract

David Hemenway’s While We Were Sleeping now in print

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David Hemenway’s book While We Were Sleeping:Success Stories in Injury and Violence Prevention, published by the University of California Press, is available for order on Amazon.  This book draws from more than sixty success stories from the injury and violence prevention fields to chronicle the lives of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the world a safer place. Read more here.

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