Public Health Approach

1-5. The public health approach emphasizes prevention and focuses not only on the gun user but also the instrument of violence and the environment

These articles summarize the public health problems caused by firearms, and the public health approach to reducing firearm injuries.

Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew.  Public health approach to the prevention of gun violence.  New England Journal of Medicine.  2013; 368:2033-35.

Hemenway, David.  “A public health approach to firearms policy” in Mechanic, David; Rogut, Lynn B; Colby, David C; Knickman, James R. eds.  Policy Challenges in Modern Health Care.  New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005.  pp. 85-98.

Hemenway, David.  The public health approach to reducing injury and violence.  Stanford Law and Policy Review.  2006; 17:635-56.

Hemenway, David.  Reducing firearm violence.  Crime and Justice.  In press.

Hemenway, David.  The public health approach to violence prevention.  Voigt L, Harper DW, Thornton WE, Jr., eds.  Preventing Lethal Violence in New Orleans.  Lafayette, LA: University of Louisiana Press.  2015.


6-7. We can learn from the successes in other public health arenas

The public health approach to reduce the problems of motor vehicles, tobacco and alcohol is applied to firearms policy.  Manufacturers try to focus prevention efforts on the user rather than the product.  Public health efforts emphasize systematic data collection and a multi-faceted policy approach that includes modifying the product and the environment.

Mozaffarian, Dariush; Hemenway, David; Ludwig, David S.  Curbing gun violence: Lessons from public health successes.  JAMA.  2013; 309:551-52.

Hemenway, David.  The public health approach to motor vehicles, tobacco, and alcohol, with applications to firearms policy.  Journal of Public Health Policy.  2001; 22:381-402.


8. Many sensible policies can reduce our firearm problem

A chapter in the book focuses on future success stories and includes a summary of policies aimed at reducing firearm injury.

Hemenway, David.  Future Successes.  In: While We Were Sleeping: Success Stories in Injury and Violence Prevention.  University of California Press;  May 2009.


9. Changing social norms is also an effective way to reduce firearm violence

This viewpoint discusses social norms that could be changed to reduce suicide, gun trafficking, accidents and interpersonal violence, with examples of successes in norm changes from other fields.

Hemenway, David.  Preventing gun violence by changing social norms.  JAMA-Internal Medicine.  2013;173(13):1167-8.


10. Physicians should be allowed to ask their patients about firearm availability

This commentary discusses the serious problems with the Florida law making it an offense for pediatricians and other doctors to discuss firearms with their patients under many circumstances.

Murtagh, Lindsey; Miller, Matthew.  Censorship of the patient-physician relationship: A new Florida law.  JAMA.  2011; 306:1131-32.


11. Successes provide insights to what policies might work in reducing gun violence

This opinion piece argues that other public health successes — reductions in tobacco use and in child poisonings and improvements in motor vehicle safety — provide lessons for firearm violence reduction.

This article in a leading medical journal emphasizes the usefulness of using a public health approach to address the problem of gun violence.

Mozaffaarian D, Hemenway D, Ludwig DS.  Curbing gun violence: Lessons from public health successes.  JAMA.  2013; 309:551-52.


12. Changing social norms can prevent gun violence

This opinion piece describes a range of changes in social norms that could lead to substantial reductions in firearm violence.

The discussion about guns has tended to focus on passing laws and enforcing laws.  This article can help spin the discussion in an additional direction.  It is the first to begin to spell out the types of social norms about guns that would be useful to change, and it provides examples of work being done to help change those norms.  It provides examples of a broader range of activities in which concerned citizen groups can engage – in addition to contacting their political representatives.

Hemenway D.  Preventing gun violence by changing social norms.  JAMA – Internal Medicine.  2013; 173:1167-68.