June is Gun Violence Awareness Month. In 2017, there were 39,773 deaths in the United States involving guns; 23,854 were suicides. This is almost 3,000 more people killed with guns than the previous year ⁠— it is an increase of 10,000 from 1999 and the highest it has been since gun mortality data was first recorded in 1979. Nearly 109 people died every single day from gun violence in 2017. For Gun Violence Awareness Month we are highlighting the public health crisis and the barriers that are keeping effective prevention from being implemented.

Before 1996 the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) was charged with researching gun violence, much in the way that the CDC researched deaths from car crashes and the life-saving effects of seatbelts and child car seats. Following a 1993 study that connected gun ownership with a higher risk of being the victim of a homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance, the National Rifle

Read more

by Richard Sagall, M.D.

With colder weather fast approaching everyone is concerned over coming down with colds, the flu, or other winter-time illnesses. It makes sense to take steps to stay healthy. The idea of “boosting your immune system” sounds inviting. But what does this really mean, and can it be done?

What is the Immune System?

The immune system consists of the parts of the body that fight infections. There are three body parts generally considered part of the immune system.

·   The lymphatic system consists of lymph nodes that filter the lymph fluid and lymph vessels that carry away waste materials. Lymphocytes also enter the lymph fluid and destroy bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances.

·   The bone marrow produces various types of white blood cells that fight infection. Red blood cells are also made in the bone marrow, but they have no role in immunity.

·   The spleen filters the blood, removing old and damaged red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other foreign substances.

What Does the Immune System Do?

Simply put, the immune system keeps you healthy by fighting off invaders

Read more

The Public Health System

In 2016, there were 36,978 deaths in the United States involving guns. This includes 732 children and 3,234 teenagers; 21,386 were suicides and 346 of the events are considered mass shootings (the FBI defines mass shootings as when four or more people are shot and/or killed in a single event at the same general time and location, not including the shooter). Despite disagreements on certain measures among Americans, gun violence can certainly be considered a public health issue in the U.S.

Before 1996, the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) was charged with researching gun violence, much in the way that the CDC researched deaths from car crashes and the life-saving effects of seatbelts and child car seats. Following a 1993 study that connected gun ownership with a higher risk of being the victim of a homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance, the National Rifle Association (NRA) responded by lobbying for the elimination for the CDC’s Center for Injury Prevention. While the Center

Read more

This week, President Obama issued a proclamation marking this September 18-24 as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. Opioid abuse is a major health concern in the US; drug overdoses kill more Americans than traffic accidents, and more than 60% of these deaths involve opioids.

As part of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week federal agencies are expanding coverage for substance abuse treatment, establishing measures with the Chinese government to combat the supply of drugs coming into the US, increasing patient limit for practitioners prescribing medication-assisted treatment, and support educational and telemedicine programs that expand access to healthcare and treatment.

A large part of spreading awareness of opioid abuse is to relieve the stigma surrounding those suffering from addiction. The feelings of disgrace and negative self-worth from society’s attitude and misconceptions about addicts can dissuade those in need from seeking treatment.  Last year the local Gloucester, MA police department started a program to help addicts that has since been adopted by over a hundred other

Read more