The giant health care system is jump-starting its effort because of the huge effect of gun violence on its patients. The health system has more than 12 million member patients, and between 2016 and 2017, its doctors treated more than 11,000 gunshot wounds.
Kaiser Permanente will begin studying gun violence by investing $2 million in research that will involve doctors and other professionals across its hospitals and centers nationwide, the Washington Post reports. Officials at the giant health system said they hope the move will encourage other systems to enter this field of research, which has had lack of funding and data in the more than two decades since the federal government virtually abandoned such studies. “The problem now is we really don’t have evidence to know what’s effective and what works” to prevent gun-related injury, said David Grossman, a doctor and senior researcher who will help lead the new task force.
Kaiser Permanente decided to jump-start its effort because of the huge effect of gun violence on its patients. The health system has more than 12 million member patients, and between 2016 and 2017, its doctors treated more than 11,000 gunshot wounds. “This is something that affects us and our patients directly,” said Bechara Choucair, the system’s chief community health officer and a doctor. “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.” The announcement coincides with a resurgence of gun-control activism — led by the student survivors of the February mass shooting in Parkland, Fl. — as well as with new actions by retailers to limit sales of military-style rifles and high-capacity guns and increased research interest from private foundations and state governments.