Earlier this week, Dr. Webster pointed out that gun violence has impacted mostly low-income communities of color. Indeed, Kalesan, et al. (2014) have shown us that rates of firearm-related fatality among African-Americans are twice as high as among Caucasians in the United States. Public health scholars have long understood race and other social, economic, and environmental factors – often called the “social determinants of health” – as important contributors to disparities in health outcomes between groups.
To what degree has an understanding of the social determinants of health informed the major research questions being pursued by gun violence researchers? More specifically, how well have researchers described the relationships between these factors and the observed disparities in firearm-related fatalities between groups? Which other modes of inquiry are necessary to help build an interdisciplinary understanding of those relationships?