The Pathology of Gun Violence feat. Dr. Roger Mitchell
Gun violence in the US has reached a point where it is a public health issue. 36,000 Americans die from firearm-related events. Each year, tens of thousands are injured. The medical community calls it a biopsychosocial disease.
We understand the risk factors and therefore can identify how to control and prevent it. So what more can we be doing to battle this ever-urgent issue? Dr. Roger Mitchell joins us to discuss today, he is chair of the Department of Pathology at Howard University.
Roger and host Frank Tramble sit down and talk about Dr. Mitchell’s career path, using disease modeling to address gun violence, who the audience for this research is, and his advice for emerging pathologists.
From HU2U is a production of Howard University and is produced by University FM.
Violence is a complex problem that demands diverse solution
[06:25] One of the misconceptions about violence is that it's only homicidal; the majority of gun violence is now over 56% of gun violence is suicide, and by bringing in suicides into the conversation of violence, that decreases the other wisdom of violence because the individuals that are most impacted by suicidal violence are older white men. The individuals that are impacted by homicidal violence are younger black men. But if you look at violence across both spectrums, then it's everybody's issue that has different solutions.
Why understanding disease helps us understand violence
[05:16] There is both an environmental and a biological component to each disease process. And so if you understand that about violence, then you can understand it as preventable.
Viewing violence as a public health problem
[12:58] When you call violence a public health problem, then you can bring all of those resources to bear within the toolkit. If it's just a criminal justice problem, you're just dealing with law enforcement and the criminal legal system. But as a public health problem, you can bring all the community to solve this problem.
Advice to all emerging pathologists
[17:48] It is an opportunity for you to be a physician-scientist, to understand and be close to the basic science, and look at tissue and see how tissue causes, what diseases are seen in tissue, and how tissue shows itself up to cause disease. But it's also an opportunity for you to be involved in the clinical care of your patient as well. So I encourage anyone who's interested in pathology to think about it and look at it deeply, because it's a great field to go into.
- Gun Violence Prevention Task Force at Howard
- Centers of Excellence at Howard
- The Price of Freedom: A Son's Journey Paperback by Dr. Roger Mitchell
- Death in Custody: How America Ignores the Truth and What We Can Do about It by Dr. Roger Mitchell