04 Nov Study Exposes Deep Structural Racial Differences in Exposure To Firearm Violence
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bindu Kalesan PhD MPH
Evan’s Center for Translational Epidemiology and
Comparative Effectiveness Research
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology
Department of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA 02118
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Kalesan: Firearm injuries are one of the 3 major causes of death in children in the US. for every 7 pediatric firearm deaths there are 8 children non-fatally injured by a gun. Those that survive will live with disability and severe morbidity. From our earlier studies, we found that this burden of survivorship and injury is different according to race/ethnicity. There is also evidence that Injury related hospitalizations are also associated low-income households and neighborhoods. In the background of gun (violence) control, frequently comparisons are drawn between firearm injuries and motor vehicle accidents.
In this study we use nationally representative hospitalization data and compared pediatric firearm-related hospitalization and pedestrian motor vehicle accident hospitalizations to assess whether the risk of firearm related hospitalizations among minorities varies depending on the neighborhood they live.
We found that black children were at substantially greater risk of firearm hospitalization as compared to pedestrian motor vehicle hospitalization. This greater risk of firearm hospitalization among black children persisted across neighborhoods. Simply put, the risk of firearm hospitalization versus pedestrian motor vehicle hospitalization among black children was high, regardless of whether they lived in low income or high income neighborhoods.We also found that all minority race children (black, Hispanic and other race) as compared to white children were at a greater likelihood of homicide-firearm hospitalization than of pedestrian motor vehicle hospitalization and all minority race children were significantly less likely to be hospitalized for unintentional firearm than pedestrian injuries in comparison to white children. Therefore, overall we found a minority race disadvantage regardless of whether they lived in high and low-income neighborhoods.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Kalesan: Our results add to the evidence suggestive of deep and structural racial differences in the exposure to firearm violence in the US.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Kalesan: Discussions and policies regarding gun violence are often focused on gun deaths. However, 70% of the gun violence victims who survive are disabled and suffer multiple hospitalizations, burdening the health care system. While it is important to understand the burden of death due to gun violence, it is also important to study the short and long-term consequences of gun violence survivorship
Race/ethnicity, neighborhood poverty and pediatric firearm hospitalizations in the United States
Kalesan, Bindu et al. Annals of Epidemiology Online: October 29, 2015
Publication stage: In Press Accepted Manuscript
Presented at 2015 APHA meeting
Bindu Kalesan PhD MPH (2015). Study Exposes Deep Structural Racial Differences in Exposure To Firearm Violence MedicalResearch.com