October 15, 2015
Over 100 children (aged 0-14) killed unintentionally with guns each year
An article in the journal Injury Epidemiology by David Hemenway and HSPH graduate Sara Solnick (Professor at the University of Vermont), finds that the Vital Statistics data (e.g., WISQARS) underestimates the number of US children killed unintentionally with firearms (often reporting accidental shootings as homicides). Using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, Hemenway & Solnick find that of the 100 or more cases each year, in about 1/3 of the instances the child unintentionally shot himself, and in 1/3 the child was shot by another child (usually a brother or friend). In half of the remaining case the child was accidentally shot by a parent (i.e., the dad). These cases represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of accidental shootings as there are far more non-fatal shootings than deaths.
August 14, 2015
Law Enforcement Officers more likely to be killed in states with more guns
An article by former HSPH occupational health post-doctoral fellow David Swedler and HSPH faculty Francesca Dominici and David Hemenway in the American Journal of Public Health found that LEO homicide rates were three times higher in states with high firearm ownership rates compared with states with low firearm ownership. The article examined the 782 LEO homicides (92% by firearms) from 1996-2010 and found that rates of firearm ownership was the best predictor of the varying levels of LEO homicide victimization. Results controlled for the main factor likely to affect LEO homicides (violent crime rates) as well as many factors expected to affect homicide rates in the general population. Higher levels of private firearm ownership appear to increase the frequency with which officers faceed potentially life-threatening situations (e.g., domestic violence calls).
June 15, 2015
HICRC wins paper of the year award
The journal Injury Epidemiology announced their inaugural award for paper of the year, which was won by HSPH doctoral student April Opoliner, with co-authors Deborah Azrael, Catherine Barber, Garrett Fitzmaurice, and senior author Matthew Miller for their article “Explaining geographic patterns of suicide in the US: the role of firearms and antidepressants.” This ecologic study across both states and counties for 2001-2005 found a strong relationship between household gun ownership levels and rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide. There was no association between rates of antidepressant use and suicide. Congratulations to all!
May 15, 2015
HICRC wins award for suicide prevention activities
In May, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (greater Boston chapter) gave its 2015 Lifesaver Leadership Award to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center for its Means Matter Campaign. The plaque reads “For promoting activities that reduce a suicidal person’s access to lethal means of suicide.” Special congratulations to Cathy, Deb, Matt, Elaine and Mary.
May 1, 2015
Self-defense gun use article
Data come from the National Crime Victimization Survey 2007-2011. Self-defense gun use occurred in fewer than 1% of all contact crimes reported. Males and rural dwellers were most likely to use a gun in self-defense. Self-defense gun use was not associated with a reduced risk of victim injury. Self-defense with any weapon was associated with a reduced risk of property loss. Hemenway D, Solnick SJ. The epidemiology of self-defense gun use: evidence from the National Crime Victimization Surveys 2007-2011. Preventive Medicine (available on-line). In August 2015 the LA Times published an op-ed by David Hemenway discussing these results.
April 28, 2015
Who should be given a carry permit? Survey of police in a may-issue state.
For public safety, whom would you like to decide who can legally carry a concealed firearm–a federal computer or your local police chief? We conducted a survey of police chiefs in a “may-issue” state, one of the few where the local police chief still has discretion concerning the issuance of a permit. The median annual number of permits denied for discretionary reasons by the local police chief was 2. A common reason for discretionary denial was frequent 911 calls to the residence for domestic violence and alcohol abuse. Even though such individuals had never been convicted of a felony, the chiefs believed the public was better served if he was not carrying a firearm. Hemenway D, Hicks JG. May issue gun carrying laws and police discretion: Some evidence from Massachusetts. Journal of Public Health Policy. (available on line).
April 22 2015
LA Times Op-ed discusses our firearm researcher surveys
This article discusses the rationale and findings from our monthly surveys of scientists who have recently published articles in peer reviewed journals on firearms. “Scientific consensus isn’t always right, but it’s our best guide to understanding the world. Can reporters please stop pretending that scientists, like politicians, are evenly divided on guns? We’re not.” http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-hemenway-guns-20150423-story.html.
April 2, 2015
Rolling Stone Magazine publicizes results of our firearm researcher survey.
Results posted on our website (“Firearm Researcher Surveys”) were highlighted by Rolling Stone in an article provocatively entitled “New Harvard Research Debunks the NRA’s Favorite Talking Points.” The article reports the main results of our first nine surveys, for example that 5% of respondents think having a gun in the house makes it safer while 64% think it makes it a more dangerous place to be.” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/gun-research-harvard-nra.
October 28, 2014
Collaboration between firearm retailers and public health experts to reduce suicide.
Firearm retailers and firearm rights advocates worked with suicide prevention experts–including HICRC’s Mary Vriniotis and Cathy Barber–to help gun dealers take an active role in reducing suicide. Materials were created for both gun dealers (providing tips to reduce the odds of selling a firearm to someone who is suicidal) and for their customers (encouraging customers to consider off-site storage if someone at home may be suicidal). Close to half of firearms retailers in New Hampshire are currently displaying some of these suicidal prevention materials. The study reporting the findings was published online today in Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, with Vriniotis as lead author.
October 15, 2014
Mass Public Shootings have tripled since 2011.
HICRC researchers Amy P. Cohen, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller reported in Mother Jones that the United States has entered a new period in which mass shootings in public places are occurring more frequently. Using a Statistical Process Control method developed for industry when events are relatively rare, the HICRC researchers found that between 1982-2011, mass shootings occurred every 200 days on average; from 2011-2014, they have been occurring every 64 days. Those claiming that the rate of mass shootings has not changed inappropriately include intimate partner homicides in private homes in their data http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/mass-shootings-increasing-harvard-research. See also Deb Azrael interview On the Media October 31, 2014 http://www.onthemedia.org/story/dreary-mythbuster/.
June 19, 2014
Monthly Survey of Gun Researchers
HICRC has begun sponsoring very short monthly surveys of gun researchers. The first survey found that a large majority agreed with the statement “In the United States, having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide.” The second survey found that a sizable majority disagreed with the statement “In the United States, guns are used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime.” Detailed results of each survey are posted on this website under Firearm Researcher Surveys.
June 18, 2014
Boston Bicycle Crash Map Released
HICRC’s own Dahianna Lopez has been a driving force in working with multiple agencies to assemble a useful database of bicycle crashes in Boston. A comprehensive report was released this spring, and a map of crash sites has just been released to the public http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/06/18/bike-crash-map-boston-data/. Such a cutting edge database, which includes what the weather was like during the incident, is available in few other cities. Dahianna is writing her dissertation on bicycle and pedestrian injuries.
June 14, 2014
Harvard Article on HICRC’s Suicide Research Wins Award
Madeline Drexler, editor of Harvard Public Health, wrote an excellent article last year on “Guns and Suicide: The Hidden Toll” http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine-features/guns-and-suicide-the-hidden-toll/ which highlighted the research, dissemination and translation activities of HICRC. That article just won the Grand Gold award from the Council for the Advancement & Support of Education, beating out 73 other entries.
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
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
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 justice 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:
- WBZ-TV Interview with Jon Keller
- The Washington Post
- Huffington Post
- Discovery News
- Courier Mail Australia
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 Enclosures Burn Injuries Report
David Hemenway did an interview with 89.3 KPCC Southern California Public radio about glass fireplace enclosures 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).
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
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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