Massachusetts General Hospital Launches Center for Gun Violence Prevention
"With nearly 40,000 people a year dying, we have a responsibility as people in the health care system to tackle that issue the way we would any issue that's affecting our patients," said Dr. Chana Sacks, the co-director and co-founder of the Gun Violence Prevention Center, which launched today at Mass General Hospital. "So it's not that we’re choosing this issue, it’s choosing us."
Along with Dr. Peter Masiakos, director of Pediatric Trauma Services at Mass. General and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Sacks founded the center with the aim of research on gun violence prevention, as well as providing clinical care, education, and community engagement.
The Center for Gun Violence Prevention is a continuation of a coalition formed in 2015 of Mass Health physicians determined to take a public health approach to preventing gun violence. The coalition has a track record of success, including collaboration with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, the office of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, the Boston Police Department, and MGH’s Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies.
The Center for Gun Violence Prevention is committed to continuing and expanding on the work they have already done. Massachusetts General Hospital promised $1.2 million to the center over the next three years, and $200,000 was committed from the Harvard Medical School. With this funding, research will be conducted on gun injuries and deaths, amongst other topics, according to Dr. Chana Sacks, who has been personally affected by gun violence; back in 2012, her cousin’s 7-year-old son Daniel was killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.
Some medical professionals claim that it is not doctors’ and nurses’ place to educate patients on gun violence; claims go as far as to say that firearm safety is not a medical issue. George Q. Daley, MD, Ph.D., and Dean of Harvard Medical School, stated that “As an American, a parent, an educator, and a doctor, I am heartbroken and outraged at the needless loss of life from gun violence in our communities.”