Including the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman HS in Parkland Florida that killed seventeen students and teachers, there have now been over 130 shootings in elementary, middle and high schools in 43 states since 2000 and another 58 shootings in US colleges and universities. Gun violence in this country is in a word, obscene. It is, for example, 96 times higher than in Japan and 55 times higher in the UK. It is largely explained by gun prevalence. The US accounts for approximately five percent of the worldwide population, however, Americans own 42 percent of the world's guns. What also explains gun violence is a federal policy that has persisted since 1996, the so called Dickey amendment, that prohibited federal funding to conduct gun violence research. (Since 1996 there have been approximately 600,000 gunshot victims.) The recently passed omnibus spending bill (that funds the federal government through this fiscal year) included accompanying report language stating the Dickey Amendment does not prevent federal agencies, moreover the CDC, from conducting gun violence research. However, the spending bill included no money to conduct gun violence research.
During this 28 minute conversation Dr. Al-Agba discusses her experience treating survivors of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting (that killed 13 and wounded 21), why the physician community has been hesitant to discuss gun safety with their patients and what can be done by the physician community to reduce gun violence, e.g., participating in student threat assessments.
Dr. Niran Al-Agba is an a board certified pediatrician in private practice in Silverdale, Washington and is affiliated with multiple hospital in the region including Harrison Medical Center and MultiCare Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center. She is a her family's third generation physician practicing in the Kitsap County. She is also an Assistant Professor on at the University of Washington School of Medicine and is a lead instructor at Seattle Children's Hospital for the past 15 years. She has been voted the Best Doctor in Central Kitsap for three of the last six years. She is the independent practice editor for the Health Care Bog, published on KevinMD and RebelMD, and pens a monthly column for her local newspaper, The Kitsap Sun. Dr. Al-Abga received her medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine, did her residency at the University of Colorado School of Medicine/Denver Children's Hospital.
Dr. Al-Abga's March 10th essay titled, "I Treated the Columbine Kids, I Have Not Spoken Before," noted during this discussion is at: http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2018/03/10/i-treated-the-columbine-kids-i-have-not-spoken-out-before/.