Gun violence is one of the most pressing public health threats of our time. There have been 171 days in 2022, and more than 250 mass shootings across the U.S. in places like Uvalde, Tucson, Chattanooga, and in Chicago.
We know all too well the toll gun violence takes on our community’s wellbeing. Between 2020 and 2021 alone, the Cook County Health team has treated more than 2,000 patients with gun injuries. Not only do we provide for their urgent health needs, but also their ongoing care, including follow-up surgeries, rehabilitation, and mental health treatment. The number of patients with gun injuries has made our trauma surgeons among the best in the world at treating penetrating trauma wounds. Yet, we dream of a world where we have no patients with these devastating, life-altering injuries.
Even if a person is not directly injured, exposure to gun violence (hearing or witnessing gun shots, losing a friend or family member to gun violence, or being injured personally) creates trauma that can impact a person’s physical and mental health. Cook County Health is creating a trauma-informed care curriculum that will help our employees identify and care for people who have experienced traumatic events and provide staff the support they need as well.
We are heartened at the bipartisan progress toward the first meaningful gun safety legislation in decades, but there is still so much more work to be done in Cook County and around the nation. It can be hard to know what a single individual can do to address such an overwhelming health crisis. Scroll down to learn more about how you can help advocate for gun safety in this country.
Israel Rocha Jr., CEO
Cook County Health
We are proud that three of our physicians – Dr. Larrisa Unruh, Dr. Sadhana Dharmapuri and Dr. Kenneth Soyemi – were lead authors of a study published in PlosOne examining individual and community factors causing disproportionate COVID-19 outcomes in Cook County.
We hope that the lessons from this study can help illuminate the persistent inequalities here and around our country so that, as a society, we can better address these issues. As we confront the subsequent waves of this disease and work to vaccinate as many people, as quickly as possible, we must acknowledge who suffers the most and focus our efforts to keep those populations as safe and healthy as possible.
A new Pew Research Center survey takes a wide-ranging look at Black Americans’ views and experiences with science, spanning medical and health care settings, educational settings, and as consumers of science-related news and information in daily life.
Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Marcus, Cook County Health’s Chair of Breast Oncology, for being named to Chicago Magazine‘s list of Top Cancer Doctors in Chicago for the category of Surgery.