Welcome to ‘Copa content on Public Health in emergency medicine! My hope is to introduce public health topics relevant to emergency medicine in a way that highlights solutions. We see a ton of high need patients and often these patients face overwhelming population health, social or system-based struggles that can really make an EP feel like we’re fighting a losing battle. I hope you’ll find, as I have, that applications in public health can serve as a huge win for patient health and well being as well as a new and sustainable to approach to some of emergency medicines most frustrating and ongoing struggles.
For our first look into public health, a brief ‘20,000ft view’ of issues in public health with an article posted in the New York Times on June 1, 2018. The article posited to readers the question, “which health campaign they would like to see started.” I encourage you read the whole article because it brings evidence to bear for each of the 9 issues mentioned. Here I will highlight quotes from those campaigns which could most directly effect emergency medicine including gun violence and opioid misuse:
“Guns and Suicide
The Silence Around Suicide
Why is suicide and suicide prevention seldom if ever discussed when it comes to public health funding? Around 60 percent of all gun deaths nationwide are due to suicide. In Oregon, around 82 percent of all gun deaths are due to suicide. — Sarah Hobbs, Portland, Ore.
‘Senseless Deaths and Injuries’
Nearly 40,000 people are killed by guns in this country yearly, and manymore are wounded. It’s been estimated that we spend $229 billion per year on this epidemic that devastates individuals, families and communities. There is much that can and should be done to prevent these senseless deaths and injuries, and I hope that the authors will use this platform to shine a bright light on the role that public health/preventive strategies can play in curbing this crisis in their next installment. — Sonya Lewis, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Can’t Hide From This ‘in Your Gated Community’
The idea of offering free needles to addicts is still regarded as somehow “not right.” Yet we have an opioid crisis, and this will be followed by an H.I.V. and hepatitis crisis. This is not something you can hide from in your gated community; your kids are dating kids who have used needles (sadly I know a lot about this subject) — L. Finn‑Smith, Little Rock” (1)
- The Upshot Staff. (2018, June 01). The Next Great American Public Health Campaign? Readers Make Their Picks. Retrieved June 7, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/upshot/the-next-great-american-public-health-campaign-readers-make-their-picks.html
Thank you to PGY-2 Megan McElhinny for creating this content!