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"Atlanta Shootings Represent Public Health Crises, Medical Groups say"

STAT interviewed Dr. Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about placing the murders of eight people in Atlanta, six of them Asian, at the intersection of several public health crises, including racism

Thursday, March 18, 2021

After a rampage near Atlanta killed eight people on Tuesday night — six of them Asian women — medical groups responded with horror, placing the shootings at the intersection of several public health crises, racism among them.

Organizations including the AMA, APA, and APHA said yesterday that the shootings are part of an epidemic of U.S. gun violence, which kills some 30,000 people each year. The tragedy also comes amid a rise in attacks against Asian Americans — which many say is fueled by former President Trump’s racist coronavirus-related rhetoric.

“Negative sentiment against Asian Americans has always been present. It's just that it manifests more forcefully under times of social stress ... and is worsened by politicians who decide to scapegoat this community,” Gilbert Gee, a UCLA professor of community health sciences, told me, noting the harm lies not only with the victims, but also in the mental and physical impact on the broader community.