Dr. Frederick Rivara, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is a nationally recognized expert in reducing gun violence. He co-founded the Harborview Injury and Prevention Research Center in 1985 at UW Medicine. Both he and the center have been prominent voices in injury prevention, especially from firearms, for the past 30 years.

Dr. Rivara is one of four investigators looking at something never funded before -- nonlethal firearm injuries.

He is part of a two-year study funded by the National Collaborative for Gun Violence Research, a private nonprofit, to collect data from trauma centers around the country. 

Andrew Morral, director of the funding collaborative, noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of both firearms and deaths from gun violence have increased across the country.

The study comes as UW Medicine's Harborview Medical Center reported treating 28 more gunshot victims in June and July 2020 versus the same timespan last year.  The violence leaves a trail of emotional turmoil and pain for many families.

Seattle news station KCPQ-TV talked to two families who lost sons since May. Shalone Barnett lost her only child, Adriel, when someone opened fire at a gas station in the Central District in July. He was 18 and had aspirations to become an engineer after graduating from high school.

Alicia Dassa lost her son, Connor, in a drive-by shooting on Mother’s Day. Connor Dassa-Holland, a UW freshman who had plans to become a lawyer, was the class president at Rainier Beach High School and a youth track coach for the Rainier Beach Track Club.

Gun violence is among the five leading causes of death among Americans ages 1 to 64, but research funding had been severely lagging compared to other leading causes of death.


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