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UC SAFE tackles firearm violence epidemic

Group holds ‘Stop the Bleed’ event Feb. 13

The University of Cincinnati (UC) student group Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic (SAFE) will host a Stop the Bleed event at 1 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 13 in MSB E-351. The Stop the Bleed program is run by the UC Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care and aims to teach the public life-saving bleeding control techniques to aid individuals in emergency situations. The campaign targets preparedness as a shared responsibility of the government, private and nonprofit sectors and individuals citizens.

Mara Nickel, an organizer of UC SAFE and a second-year medical student, says Stop the Bleed is the latest in a series of activities her organization has been hosting to raise awareness of gun violence in the United States as a medical threat that shouldn’t be ignored.

UC SAFE is part of a national organization which has reported that firearm mortality rates exceeded motor vehicle traffic mortality for the first time in American history in 2015 and has remained higher in all subsequent data. In 2016, 38,656 lives were lost to firearms, almost 8,000 of these deaths were to individuals under 25; and firearms caused over 116,000 injuries.

“Firearm violence is affecting so many people nationwide,” says Nickel. “So many people are dying that health care providers should be involved. We at least are going to get involved.”

Nationally, SAFE includes physicians, nurses and health care professionals who try to stem American firearm violence through research, education and evidence-based policy. UC SAFE shares those same aims and has been hosting lunch talks with trauma physicians on firearm violence and its impact on children for students interested in the topic, says Nickel.

UC SAFE’s faculty advisor is Abbie Youkilis, MD, volunteer assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, and a physician for the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The student chapter formed last fall and joined a national rally against gun violence held Sept. 17. The rally protested the U.S. government’s failure to take steps addressing issue related to gun violence. About 25 medical students participated in that demonstration in the Medical Sciences Building.