UCSF addresses gun violence with in hospital intervention program


SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – As of mid-February, the United States had already counted 80 mass shootings in 2023, seven of which had four or more fatalities, according to nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

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Gun violence is being categorized as a public health crisis in many communities throughout the nation. Dr. Amanda Sammann, Assistant Professor of general surgery at UCSF and the Founder and Executive Director of The Better Lab, told KCBS Radio's "As Prescribed" gun violence is an everyday occurrence at the hospital.

"It feels like it's been increasing subjectively here, but the data across the United States shows that it has been and it’s been particularly increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic," Sammann said.

According to the CDC, in 2020 over 45,000 people died from gun-related injuries in the United States, 43% of which were murders. "With the way gun violence is going, it's clear that the rates are going to continue to rise," she stated.

Among the factors compounding this issue are access to guns, community violence and policies that reinforce structural racism and poverty. "The people most likely to be injured by community violence are young men of color and that trend is just continuing to increase, so addressing some of these systematic, structural issues is really where we need to focus our energies if we want to address gun violence," Sammann said.

20 years ago, UCSF created an intervention program known as Wraparound which connects young people in the hospital with survivors of violent injury.

Vanessa Jackson, a violence prevention professional, is an integral part of the Wraparound process. Once a patient is brought into the hospital due to gun violence, Jackson meets with them and creates a tailored plan of what they may need.

"We give the same services whether you are someone that wasn't supposed to get shot, or whether you're in gangs, we just want to make sure these people have a healthy way of taking care of themselves and having options," she said.

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