Kaiser Permanente to launch $2 million gun violence research effort

Kaiser Permanente to launch $2 million gun violence research effort
© Getty Images

Health care giant Kaiser Permanente on Monday announced a $2 million investment into gun violence research.

Officials said that they will bring health-care professionals and doctors together on a task force to study the issue, according to The Washington Post.

Bechara Choucair, the chief community health officer for Kaiser Permanente, told the Post that gun violence is an issue “that affects us and our patients directly.”

“We should be thinking about this problem and studying interventions for it in the same way we study heart disease or diabetes or any other leading cause of death,” she said.

Kaiser Permanente doctors have treated more than 11,000 gunshot wounds nationwide between 2016 and 2017, according to the Post.

The initial $2 million will be used to identify studies and data that could contribute to the institutional knowledge on gun violence, officials said. Researchers will likely examine methods of incorporating gun violence education and prevention into patient care, for example, when dealing with patients with suicidal thoughts. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The conversation on gun violence has re-entered the national spotlight in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in February.

Some lawmakers have called on their colleagues to re-examine the Dickey amendment, a 1996 rule that Democrats have said puts a “chilling effect” on the Centers for Disease Control’s ability to research gun violence.

Before the rule was passed, the CDC had a $2.6 million budget to study gun violence, not much more than Kaiser Permanente is intending to invest.

Officials from the health system said they will make the research public, and hope that their efforts will help catalyze a resurgence of gun control research nationwide.