On March 23rd Congress passed a comprehensive spending bill to fund the federal government. The following is a response from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The bill includes several notable victories for children’s health championed by the Academy—increased funding for emergency medical services for children, pediatric and maternal mental health, birth defects and disabilities, global maternal and child health programs and more—but also misses an opportunity to fund gun violence prevention research.
“While the omnibus bill does reiterate and clarify that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not restricted from pursuing gun-related public health research, it fails to give any federal funding to CDC to conduct such research. If we are to stop the public health epidemic of gun violence, we must understand what causes it in the first place, and how to prevent it. Federally funded research is essential to address the deadly toll of gun violence in children’s lives, whether through accidental shootings, suicide, homicide, or school shootings.
“That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced a new Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Research Initiative to bring together experts from around the country to study and implement evidence-based interventions.
“While this investment will support critical work, there is no substitute for large-scale public health research supported by the CDC. The Academy will continue to urge Congress to fund federal gun violence prevention research while undertaking our own efforts to protect children in the face of congressional inaction.”