, 34 tweets, 20 min read Read on Twitter
I've been hearing a lot of resignation in people's voices and tweets, in the face of the latest tragedy at #PowaySynagogueShooting. People are giving up hope that we can ever bend the curve on our #gunviolence epidemic.

--This thread is dedicated to destroying that despair.—
6 years ago, we watched those babies walk out of #SandyHook - & were torn apart, as a nation, by the memory of those who didn't make it.

Many of us had been told that we "couldn't" talk about guns.

But after Sandy Hook, many of us said "no more; we will not be silent."
A few bravely started talking and writing about why #gunviolence was a #publichealth issue. Those few, turned into a wave. The groundwork was slowly laid.
The idea of #gunviolence as a #publichealth problem began to percolate into the public consciousness, with 1 newspaper article, then another.

And real discussions about how science could change firearm disease & injury patterns emerged - eg @EmmyBetz
One inflection point was a 2017 @AmerMedicalAssn conference where @EmmyBetz & I talked about what WE, as #doctors & #healthcare professionals, can do to change patterns of firearm injury.

Emmy led the call for this as a HEALTH issue. Not a moral one. jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/…
And the public responded. People came up to us saying "I've been a gun owner my whole life. This makes sense to me. This would make sense to my patients. This would make sense to my community."
Yet to politicians, they continued to see this as a political splinter point. Research remained unfunded. And more mass shootings happened. More babies, more teens, more adults died.
Did you know that 2/3 of #gun deaths in this country are suicides? No one was talking about them :(

And no one was talking about how #gunviolence disproportionately affects minority youth - and all the structural/societal reasons why.
And no one was talking about how docs across the country are seeing these patients every day in ERs, pediatricians' offices, & rehabs - and how we want to help.
(This work directly led to the founding of @ResearchAffirm - to both create funding, and to create a new path forward. affirmresearch.org.

Happy to discuss this work another time - it is creating change, & needs your help!!! - but it isn't the point of this thread.)
A key inflection point was the funding of @FACTS_Safety.

It can’t be over-emphasized: it’s the NIH’s largest single investment EVER in #gunviolence prevention research. And it's making a difference, thx to @StrohCunningham and her amazing team. (Disclosure: I'm on her team :))
(PS, it’s still not enough. $5mill over 5 years. Versus how much on #opioids?! THIS EPIDEMIC NEEDS MORE.)
And yet... in the background.... Americans continued to die.

33,000 in 2013
then 35,000
then 38,000
and in 2017, almost 40,000 dead.

Never mind their families, communities, schools, ripped apart, as amply reported by @RobinCogan @hshermd & many others.
Then #Parkland - and #ParklandStrong - happened. The world was energized, and mobilized. We all hoped that these 17 lives, lost too young, could create change where thousands hadn't.
And y'know what? Us docs & nurses & social workers & PTs kept on speaking up... because we were the ones who saw these patients. And - next to the families and the survivors - we are, perhaps, the ones who most deeply care.
This past year alone:
- the launch of @WYCDinitiative.
- the launch of @SafeStand, an inspirational organization of medical students. - @AmCollSurgeons published a seminal article showing that WE CAN WORK TOGETHER. journalacs.org/article/S1072-… @dakuhls @Stewartr84
- and more
And then, of course, in November 2018: #ThisIsOurLane: Healthcare professionals sharing the daily, human toll of the #gunviolence epidemic.
Y'all! We blanketed the media, and even got into @NEJM! What a demonstration of @thisisnewpower!! Regular docs & nurses across the country investing & sharing to make a difference.

nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NE… @RealCedricDark
Powerful op-eds by @amybarnhorst highlighted just how deeply this issue affects us - and how sure we are that we can use the HEALTH approach to fix it.
Family members of loved ones spoke up, and organized, too. @kharyp @AbbieYoukilis @fred_guttenberg & more. I'll let them share their story - it's not mine to tell - but darn is it inspiring.
AND Y'ALL TAKE A LOOK AT THIS: We’re creating partnerships where there were none.

Gun owners & non-gun-owners are coming together to say THIS IS A HEALTH PROBLEM and WE CAN FIX IT @ERdisasterdoc (thank you @darakass @feminemtweets for the opportunity).

WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED in this quest to build a new, thoughtful, inclusive, but effective set of tools that can *stop* shooters before they shoot.

That can treat #gunviolence as the HEALTH issue that it is.

That can create dialogue, & create change.
Then today, this: the house voted for $50 million (!!!!) for #gunviolence research. HOW AMAZING would that be?! (Yup, ps, it still has to get through the Senate.... not a done deal yet.)
So what's next?
1) Contact your senators to get these appropriations through.
2) Come together with all of us to say this is a health problem, & we can fix it.
3) Reach out across the aisle to say "let's create change together"
and ****most importantly****:

4) Have hope. So many of us are in this, hearts & souls and minds.

It's not too late. We can #StandAFFIRM for change, together. Join me. Join us.
PS there's more but I ran out of tweet-space:

- kudos @KaiserFamFound for their great work leading to this @theNAMedicine publication: nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/20…
- kudos @LauraArnoldFdn for putting money behind the call for research ncgvr.org
- and kudos to the literally HUNDREDS Of docs, nurses, etc who stand up every day to share their patients' stories and work for change
Research alone won't fix this epidemic. Policy alone won't fix this epidemic. It takes all of us.
UGH I keep forgetting. All the other amazing, hope-filled things that are going on:

- the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center being led partly by @scrubbedin thetrace.org/2019/01/state-…
- the long-standing, inspirational work of @NNHVIP @KBFischer @rochelleami9 & many more to address the underlying issues that lead to community violence
- the novel & attention-grabbing work of @AmCollSurgeons on #StopTheBleed (@laurie_punch @EricGoralnick!)

- the work of @JosephSakran & many others to organize for advocacy

- the powerful partnerships between @MassAGO @jbm2033 & physicians @MassMedical in Massachusetts, to develop best practices & guidance for practitioners across the state mass.gov/lists/resource…
(please add on if I forgot!)
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