Gun Violence Epidemiology: Methodologic Challenges and Opportunities

Monday, March 27, 2023 16:00to17:00

Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, PhD, MD, MPH

Professor of Epidemiology | Department of Epidemiology | School of Public Health

University of Washington

Where: Virtual | Zoom


Gun violence is a substantial public health and public safety problem. Globally, about 250,000 individuals die each year from injuries inflicted with firearms. Many more individuals sustain nonfatal but life-altering firearm injuries or are exposed to the trauma caused using firearms. Challenges in availability and accessibility of data on firearms along with insufficient funding have created notable obstacles for conducting rigorous epidemiologic research. As such, some investigators have sought to develop creative solutions to partially overcome a number of these limitations. This presentation summarizes some of the methodological challenges and opportunities unique to this field of scholarship and their implications for prevention and policy.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe challenges in measuring the burden of gun violence through surveillance
  • Identify approaches to estimate gun ownership at different spatial units
  • Explain the impact of restrictions in data availability on causal inference using gun violence as a case study

Speaker Bio

Ali Rowhani-Rahbar is the Bartley Dobb Endowed Professor for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Professor of Epidemiology, Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington. He evaluates community-based interventions, social programs, and public policies for their impact on multiple forms of violence with a particular emphasis on preventing firearm-related harm. His research has been funded by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Department of Justice, Arnold Ventures, National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, Fund for a Safer Future, State of Washington, and City of Seattle. He has served as a member of the editorial board of Injury Prevention and as the editor of the Injury Epidemiology Section of Current Epidemiology Reports. Several of his more than 200 peer-reviewed publications have informed public health practices, programs, and policies locally and nationally. He received his MD from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Iran, MPH from Yale University, and PhD from the University of Washington. He completed his postdoctoral training at Stanford University and research fellowship at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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