Trauma & Acute Care Surgery
Selwyn O. Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH
Professor of Surgery
Chief, Section of Trauma & Acute Care Surgery
Founding Director, Trauma Center
Executive Vice President, Community Health Engagement
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Selwyn O. Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH
Gun Violence in America as a Public Health Crisis
Gun violence is the leading cause of premature death in the US according to the American Public Health Association. Guns are responsible for more than 38,000 deaths a year and over 85,000 injuries. While the debate over firearms remains fierce, many in the public health sector are attempting to reframe the conversation from a political or ideological one to addressing gun violence as a public health crisis. One such person is Selwyn O. Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH, Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. Dr. Rogers, founding director of the University of Chicago Medicine’s Trauma Center, told a congressional panel that the federal government must view America’s gun violence epidemic as a public health threat.
Speaking before nine members of Congress during a field hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee, Dr. Rogers said he has seen the “devastating toll” of gun violence firsthand as he leads the trauma team at the South Side academic medical center.
Selwyn O. Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH
Professor of Surgery; Chief, Section of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery;
Founding Director, Trauma Center; Executive Vice President, Community Health Engagement
Rogers testified at the October 3, 2019, hearing at Chicago’s Kennedy-King College, where he was joined by five other speakers who discussed the public health impact of gun violence, the role of gun violence public health research and prevention approaches.
UChicago Medicine opened its Level 1 Adult Trauma Center in May 2018, which joined the Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center at UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. The comprehensive program treated about 3,400 patients during its first year, which averages out to about eight adult trauma patients a day. About 40 percent of adult trauma patients suffered penetrating trauma—typically gun or knife wounds—often from intentional violence.
“At our hospital, we work to the absolute limits of our abilities to save people,” Rogers said. “But far too often, the bullets lead to death despite all our efforts. When that happens, we have a moment of silence to mourn the loss. As a trauma surgeon, I know that moment will soon be pierced by screams of anguish—and sometimes anger—at a life that has extinguished too soon.”
Rogers answered lawmakers’ questions about the impact of intentional violence on communities, what steps the federal government should take and UChicago Medicine’s efforts to build a hospital-based violence intervention program. About a quarter of the medical center’s trauma patients are referred to the violence recovery program.
See an excerpt from Dr. Rogers’ prepared testimony below. Watch the field hearing here.
This article appeared on the UChicago Medicine website on October 6, 2019, and was written by Venus Brady. Dr. Rogers’ testimony is reprinted with his permission.
Selwyn O. Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH, Director of the UChicago Medicine Trauma Center (seated second from left)
Excerpt from Dr. Rogers’ Testimony
When we think of gun violence in the United States, we tend to think of the horrific recent mass shootings in places like Dayton, Ohio, or El Paso, Texas. But in Chicago, we see smaller examples that are no less devastating.
- We see the 22-year-old man driving with his girlfriend, shot and killed in a carjacking. His crime: He owned a nice car. His name is Alexis Andrade.
- We see the 36-year-old mother of three shot and killed in front of her children in a cellphone store. Her name is Candice Dickerson.
- We see the 11-year-old girl killed by a stray bullet in her living room while she planned her birthday party the next day. Her name is Kentavia Blackful.
I am here to testify today that we, collectively, need to find answers to the intentional gun violence that killed over 14,000 Americans in 2017. In addition, over 23,000 gun suicides occurred that year.
In February of this year, I joined a medical summit of more than 40 professional organizations that agreed upon a united statement on the impact bullets have on the health of people. The summit recommended utilizing public health as the framework to confront, understand and treat this disease.1
We must understand this violence as a public health crisis. And as such, we should address it with the same urgency as polio, Ebola or any other disease we know we can beat.
Because when we do that—when we look at gun violence as a disease—that means it can be treated. And it can be cured. If we make a true, meaningful investment in our communities, we can address some of the holistic issues that have created this gun violence epidemic.
Read the entire statement here.
- Bulger, Eileen M. et al. “Proceedings from the Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention: A Public Health Approach to Reduce Death and Disability in the US.” Journal of the American College of Surgeons 229, no. 4 (2019):415–430.e12.
Professor of Surgery
Selwyn O. Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH, Professor of Surgery; Chief, Section of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery; Founding Director, Trauma Center; Executive Vice President, Community Health Engagement
Associate Professor of Surgery
Brian Williams, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery
Kenneth L. Wilson, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery
Tanya L. Zakrison, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Peter Bendix, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Jennifer T. Cone, MD, MHS, Assistant Professor of Surgery
David Hampton, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Priya Prakash, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Jennifer T. Cone, MD, MHS, was selected as Assistant Program Director of the General Surgery Residency.
David Hampton, MD, was named Advanced Trauma Life Support Instructor of the Year by the Chicago Committee on Trauma.
Brian Williams, MD, received the Distinguished Leader in Diversity and Inclusion Award, which honors faculty who have made outstanding contributions toward fostering a more diverse and inclusive community within the Biological Sciences Division.
Tanya L. Zakrison, MD, MPH, presented the 2019 Landmark Paper in Trauma and Acute Care Surgery of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma: “#EAST4ALL: An Introduction to the EAST Equity, Quality and Inclusion Task Force.” She organized and presented the section’s well-attended #EAST4ALL plenary session, ”Equity on the Front Lines of Trauma Surgery: An #EAST4ALL Roundtable.” She attended the 15th Annual Academic Surgical Congress with the entire faculty of the Section of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, as well as Clinical Director of Trauma Services Deb Allen, BSN, RN, CCRN; Mark Ohrtman, head of the Violence Recovery Program; and colleagues from the Urban Health Initiative.
The University of Chicago Medicine Level 1 Adult Trauma Center received the second annual Organizational Advocate Award from Chicago Survivors. The award recognizes the speed with which the trauma center has become such an integral part of the community’s system for response to families of homicide victims.
Barshes N, Uribe-Gomez A, Sharath S. Mills J, Rogers S. Leg Amputations Among Texans Remote From Experienced Surgical Care. Journal of Surgical Research. Vol. 250. Pg. 232-238. June 2020.
Bonne S, Williams B, Martin M, et al. (2019) #EAST4ALL: An Introduction to the EAST Equity, Quality, and Inclusion Task Force. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 87(1), 225-233.
Cone J, Williams B, Hampton D, Prakash P, Bendix P, Wilson K, Rogers S, Zakrison T. The Ethics and Politics of Gun Violence Research. Journal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques. 2019 DEC 13. PMID: 31834854.
Daiello LA, Racine AM, Yun Gou R, Rogers SO, et al. Postoperative Delirium and Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction: Overlap and Divergence. Anesthesiology. 2019; 131(3):477-491. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002729.
Ho VP, Kaafarani H, Rattan R, Namias N, Evans H, Zakrison TL. Sepsis 2019: What Surgeons Need to Know. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2020 Apr;21(3):195-204. Epub 2019 Nov 22.
Parks J, Vasileiou G, Parreco J, Pust GD, Rattan R, Zakrison T, Namias N, Yeh DD. Validating the ATLS Shock Classification for Predicting Death, Transfusion, or Urgent Intervention. J Surg Res. 2020 Jan;245:163-167. Epub 2019 Aug 13.
Schellenberg M, Brown CVR, Trust MD, Sharpe JP, Musonza T, Holcomb J, Bui E, Bruns B, Hopper HA, Truitt MS, Burlew CC, Inaba K, Sava J, Vanhorn J, Eastridge B, Cross AM, Vasak R, Vercuysse G, Curtis EE, Haan J, Coimbra R, Bohan P, Gale S, Bendix PG. AAST Contemporary Management of Rectal Injuries Study Group. Rectal Injury After Foreign Body Insertion: Secondary Analysis From the AAST Contemporary Management of Rectal Injuries Study Group. J Surg Res. 2019 Oct 21:S0022-4804(19)30693-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2019.09.048. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 31648812.
Velopulos CG, Carmichael H, Zakrison TL, Crandall M. Comparison of male and female victims of intimate partner homicide and bidirectionality–an analysis of the national violent death reporting system. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2019 Aug;87(2):331-336.
Winfield RD, Crandall M, Williams BH, Sakran JV, Shorr K, Zakrison TL. Firearm violence in the USA: a frank discussion on an American public health crisis–The Kansas City Firearm Violence Symposium. Trauma Surg Acute Care Open. 2019 Dec 10;4(1), 1-5.
Zakrison TL, et al. COVID-19, Ethics & Equity–What Is Our Role as Surgeons? Accepted to Annals of Surgery, April 2020. Available on line here: journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Documents/COVID19,%20Ethics%20and%20Equity%20.pdf.
Zakrison TL, Valdés DM, Shultz JM. The Medical, Public Health, and Emergency Response to the Impact of 2017 Hurricane Irma in Cuba. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2019 Jul 30:1-8.
residents & fellows
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