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Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis

February 20, 2021

Guns have the potential to greatly amplify violence, as they can inflict serious — often deadly —injuries on many people in a short time. In the United States, gun violence is a major public healthproblem and a leading cause of premature death.

Protecting the Health of Children: A National Snapshot of Environmental Health Services

March 13, 2019

It focuses on the connections between people and the environment; promotes health and well-being; and helps create healthy, safe communities. Environmental health professionals work to reduce exposure to harmful substances in air, water, soil and food. This work is especially important for the protection of children.Because they eat more food, drink more water and breathe more air for their size than adults do, children are especially vulnerable to environmental health hazards. Further, children of color and children living in poverty bear an even higher burden of environmental hazards. Any yet, there are no laws or protections dedicated to children in the environments where they may face harmful exposures. This can be at home, school, child care facilities, playgrounds, parks —anywhere children live, learn and play.In response to member outcry over the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, APHA set out to study the situation nationally. With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, APHA launched the project that has culminated in this report.

Tribal Public and Environmental Health Think Tank: Priorities in Tribal Public Health

December 31, 2018

This report reviews Tribal public health issues in regard to historical, political, social and cultural contexts and provides recommendations to advance American Indian/Alaska Native health.

Creating The Healthiest Nation: Advancing Health Equity

November 26, 2018

The American Public Health Association's mission is to improve the health of the public and achieve equity in health status for all Americans. Health equity can be defined in many ways. All definitions include a focus on ensuring opportunities for everyone to attain their highest level of health. To achieve health equity, "Obstacles to health must be removed such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, such as powerless- ness and lack of access to quality education." Failing to make progress harms us all. The United States ranks 43rd in the world on the health indicator of average life expectancy at birth. Up to a seven year difference in life expectancy exists within the U.S. between racial and ethnic populations. In order for the U.S. to become the healthiest nation, we must advance equity.

Preventing Gun Violence

April 4, 2018

To enhance America's public health response to gun violence, we need:*Better Surveillance. In 2017, the National Violent Death Reporting System collected data from 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Information on firearm fatalities from all 50 states and the District of Columbia would provide a more complete picture of gun violence in the United States.11In fiscal year 2018, Congress provided $23.5 million to expand the NVDRS to all 50states. We need to maintain this funding for nationwide implementation because the data collected would prove invaluable for the design of targeted gun violence prevention strategies.*More Research. Several laws have effectively restricted federally funded research related to gun violence, as well as access to complete crime gun data.12,13,14 Yet information is needed to fill critical research gaps. For example, there is almost no credible evidence that right-to-carry laws increase or decrease violent crime, almost no empirical evidence to support dozens of violence prevention programs for children, scant data on the effects of different gun safety technologies on violence and crime, and scant data on the link between firearms policy and suicidal behavior.15,16We must expand the collection of data and research related to gun violence and other violent crime deaths in order to better understand the causes and develop appropriate solutions. Congress should provide unrestricted funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research into the causes of gun violence.*Common-Sense Gun Policies. APHA supports requiring criminal background checks for all firearms purchases, including those sold at gun shows and on the Internet. Currently unlicensed private firearms sellers are exempt from conducting criminal background checks on buyers at gun shows or over the Internet, giving felons, the mentally ill and others prohibited from owning firearms access to weapons. We also support reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, which expired in 2004.*Expanded Access to Mental Health Services. Funding for mental health services has been declining, and funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration continues to be threatened by budget cuts including cuts due to sequestration. We must ensure that state, local and community-based behavioral health systems have the resources they need to provide much-needed care.

Who Gets Killed in America? The National Violent Death Reporting System Is Keeping Track

April 25, 2017

In 2014, over 42,000 US residents killed themselves, and another 16,000 were murdered, making violent death a critical an important public health problem.1 The National Violent Death Reporting System, or NVDRS, is a one-stop source of information on suicides, homicides, unintentional fatal shootings and law enforcement-related fatalities (excluding execu-tions), including who the victims are and when, where and how they were injured. It was begun by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2002, with data from just six states. As of 2017, it tracks violent deaths in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and aims to expand to all 50 states and U.S territories. What makes the NVDRS so valuable to policy-makers, health authorities, law enforcement agencies, researchers and advocacy groups is its status as the only state-based, active surveillance system that merges, standardizes and anonymizes data from multiple sources to provide a rich, detailed picture of violent death in America.

Challenging the Evidence Base: The Impact of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Curricula on Disconnected Youth

November 1, 2015

Rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections are substantially higher for youth in foster care, juvenile detention, homeless shelters and substance use rehabilitation facilities. However, these "disconnected youth" face multiple barriers in accessing sexual health information. This study uses data from a multi-site federally funded project to examine the usefulness and effectiveness of teen pregnancy prevention evidence based programs (EBPs) with youth in high risk settings

Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms

February 1, 2015

Four assumptions frequently arise in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States: (1) that mental illness causes gun violence, (2) that psychiatric diagnosis can predict gun crime, (3) that shootings represent the deranged acts of mentally ill loners, and (4) that gun control "won't prevent" another Newtown (Connecticut school mass shooting). Each of these statements is certainly true in particular instances. Yet, as we show, notions of mental illness that emerge in relation to mass shootings frequently reflect larger cultural stereotypes and anxieties about matters such as race/ethnicity, social class, and politics. These issues become obscured when mass shootings come to stand in for all gun crime, and when "mentally ill" ceases to be a medical designation and becomes a sign of violent threat.

Innovations in Senior Services: Highlights and Lessons Learned: A Five Year Review 1998-2002

June 30, 2003

The Gerontological Health Section (GHS) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Archstone Foundation joined together to recognize innovative programs for older adults. As the population ages, public health programs targeted at older adults gain increased significance. The Award for Excellence in Program Innovation celebrates the creativity of organizations that are pioneering approaches to help older adults remain healthy, functionally independent, and residing in the community. The purpose of this document is to showcase the 24 organizations that have won the award during its first five years, from 1998 - 2003, and to share the lessons learned as they apply to public health and aging initiatives.