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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More than a dozen CEOs of major health systems sent a letter to Congressional leaders Wednesday calling for support of President Biden's proposal to fund $5 billion in hospital and community-based gun violence intervention programs.

Why it matters: The letter from some of the top health systems in the country — including CommonSpirit Health, RWJBarnabas Health, Sanford Health and Intermountain — comes as gun violence reaches critical levels.

  • In 2020, there were a record 43,559 firearms-related deaths and more than 39,000 additional injuries recorded. The country on pace to surpass records again this year.

The goal is “keeping the pressure on Washington” Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health told Axios.

The big picture: Health care professionals have become increasingly vocal on the lack of tools to address the growing number of victims affected by gun violence in hospitals every day.

  • Many health systems are trying to implement their own intervention programs or apply for federal funding to research root causes of gun injuries.
  • In some cities, as many as 45% of patients with a history of violent injury return with another injury within the next five years, according to the letter to Congress.

Context: Gun violence is the least researched of the 30 leading causes of death, largely because Congress had banned such research.

  • But $25 million was made available last year, which caused a flood of interest among scientists and researchers to study gun injury research.

What they're saying: Dowling hopes his messaging on gun violence as a public health issue will get more of a collaborative effort with the public and lawmakers than years of divisive talks on gun control.

  • "Our stance from the health care industry is firearm injuries, no different than COVID-19, is not a political issue," Chethan Sathya, pediatric surgeon and the director of Northwell’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention, tells Axios.
  • "This is a combination of enough is enough, they want the violence to stop. They want unnecessary firearm injuries to stop," he added.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Kerem Yucel and Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

2020 saw a historic rise in homicides in the U.S. — the vast majority committed with a gun — and the upward trend is continuing in 2021.

Why it matters: The murder surge represents a sharp break from decades of reductions in violent, gun-driven crime in the U.S., and experts are divided on what caused the increase — and therefore, what to do about it.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Why we struggle to count violent gun crime

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

America's crime statistics, especially around guns, are a mess — and they could soon be worse.

Why it matters: Without dependable, uniform numbers about the state of violent crime in the U.S., it's difficult to know what to do about it.

Updated 23 mins ago - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.