Helping doctors talk to patients about guns

1 min read

Doctors don’t have good ways to talk to their patients about guns — and that’s why an upcoming conference aimed at helping them do so is important, according to David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

Hemenway was quoted in an op-ed column in the New York Times on November 3, 2014.

The conference, titled “Caring for the Patient at Risk for Gun Violence: Medical, Legal, Ethical Issues,” will be the first Continuing Medical Education-accredited conference held on gun violence.

“One of the things we really know about guns is that when a gun is in the house, it increases the risk for suicide,” said Hemenway, professor of health policy at HSPH and an expert on the public health impact of gun violence. He said that talking about guns to someone who might be at risk for suicide is important, but acknowledged that the politically-charged debate about guns in the United States makes such conversations difficult.