More than 30,000 people die each year from gun violence in the United States,
a higher rate of death than any industrialized country in the world.
Funding and publication of gun violence research are
disproportionately low compared to other leading causes of death in the
United States, suggested a new research from the Icahn School of
Medicine at Mount Sinai published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association
‘Over a ten-year period, in relation to mortality rates, gun violence was the least-researched cause of death and the second-least funded cause of death, after falls.’
The study also determined that over a ten-year period, in relation to
mortality rates, gun violence was the least-researched cause of death
and the second-least funded cause of death, after falls.
Researchers analyzed mortality statistics from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2004 to 2014 to determine the
top 30 causes of death in the U.S. Findings indicated that gun violence
killed about as many people as sepsis; however, funding for gun violence
research was about 0.7% of that for sepsis, and publication volume was
"We're spending and publishing far less than what we ought to be
based on the number of people who are dying," said David E. Stark, Assistant Professor, Department of Health System Design and Global
Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and lead author of the
study. "Research is the first stop on the road to public health
improvement, and we're not seeing that with gun violence the way we did
with automobile deaths."
Historically, research on gun violence has been limited in the U.S.,
mainly due to language inserted in a 1996 congressional appropriations
bill that states, "none of the funds made available for injury
prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
may be used to advocate or promote gun control." Although the
legislation does not ban gun-related research outright, funding remains
anemic for the research community.
"Dr. Stark's research is important because the data is compelling;
gun violence had less funding and fewer publications than comparable
injury-related causes of death including motor vehicle accidents and
poisonings," said Prabhjot Singh, Chair, Department of Health
System Design and Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine.
"We know that
gun violence disproportionately affects vulnerable communities,
including young people, and inflicts many more nonfatal injuries than
deaths. As a result, we suspect the magnitude of this disparity in
research funding, when considering years of potential life lost or lived
with disability, is even greater," said Dr. Singh.