For the first time in nearly two decades, federal money is beginning to flow into gun violence research through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. There’s growing momentum behind creating a reliable national reporting database for firearm injuries and deaths, NPR reports. At the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, one of the top trauma hospitals on the West Coast, researchers like Dr. Demetrios Demetriades hope to get a better picture of the scope of the problem, so states can better target their prevention programs. “This is very important because firearm injuries, it’s a huge medical problem in the country,” Demetriades says.
Not knowing the full range of the problem poses a challenge for Demetriades, who’s the hospital’s trauma director and a professor of surgery at USC. He’s trying to better understand who’s getting hurt and who’s dying from gun violence, where, when, and even why. “You’ll be able to address the problem only if you have reliable information,” Demetriades says, “Without reliable information, you cannot take the appropriate corrective action — you cannot allocate the resources as needed.”