A new U.M. student-led research group hopes to start doing the type of analysis and research that simply does not yet exist in Miami-Dade when it comes to understanding the causes and networks around gun violence from a public health perspective.
The new Gun Violence Research Advocacy Program hosted a discussion on Thursday along with trauma surgeons and local gun violence survivors.
“Night after night, it gets tiring and frustrating and overwhelming to meet survivors of gun violence,” said Dr. Rishi Rattan, a trauma surgeon.
Gun-related injuries cause hundreds of victims to be rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center each year.
Rattan said he sees first-hand the carnage bullets cause when they rip through the bodies of the mostly young black men who are admitted to the hospital. The violence has also impacted children and women.
He said gun violence in Miami-Dade and across the country is a serious public health concern that is not being addressed on the same level of other preventable deaths.
Megan Hobson, a former patient at Jackson, was shot in the hip twice in Miami Gardens in 2012. She was in a car when someone started shooting nearby. She said two bullets from an AK-47 tore through her.
Hobson said she’s found an informal network of gun violence survivors and people concerned about preventing violence in the first place, but it isn’t structured, which makes access to these resources hard to find.
She talked about the long-term mental health implications of being shot: “People expect you to get past it,” she said.
Whitney Maxey, a panelist and public school teacher, said there needs to be formal support groups for victims of gun violence.
She added that it’s not just the direct victims of gun violence who are impacted. Every time a community member turns on the news and thinks this is “normal” because it happens all the time, it “robs us of our humanity,” she said.
IF YOU GO
The conversation about gun violence continues at 7 p.m., Saturday June 10.
Books & Books, Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL
Speakers will include trauma surgeons, local gun violence survivors and Kathy Schorr, photographer and author of “SHOT... 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America.”