The AAMC joined 165 other medical, research, and public health organizations on two Feb. 21 letters urging appropriators to provide $50 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support public health research related to firearm morbidity and mortality in fiscal year (FY) 2020.
The letters, addressed to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittees, describe the value of federally funded public health research in reversing other public health challenges. The signatories state, “This same approach should be applied to increasing gun safety and reducing firearm-related injuries and deaths.”
Additionally, the letters highlight comments by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar in February 2018 that the “Dickey Amendment,” language prohibiting the use of HHS funding “to advocate or promote gun control,” does not prohibit CDC from funding gun violence prevention research.
Nonetheless, since the amendment’s initial inclusion in the annual spending bills in 1996, “CDC has not funded new research into important issues including the best ways to prevent unintended firearm injuries and fatalities among women and children; the most effective methods to prevent firearm-related suicides; the measures that can best prevent the next shooting at a school or public place; and numerous other vital public health questions.”