Presentation Title: Principle 3: The Public Health Approach

Abstract: The third principle of the policy is that because prediction of gun violence at the individual level is not reliably accurate, and because steps to minimize harms from gun violence also include aspects of product safety and public education, a robust and research-informed public health model must be the core strategic approach to gun violence prevention and intervention. The policy endorses a scientific, public health approach to gun violence. This approach includes: differentiating and defining the range of challenges from prevention to intervention as well as across different populations or consequences of gun violence (such as suicide, homicide, accidents); identifying risk and protective factors; developing and evaluating prevention and intervention strategies; and, advocating for widespread adoption of effective programs and policies. To promote health and safety for all people, psychologists must join with multiple stakeholders and disciplines. There are research-based methods for identification and management of high risk situations and characteristics at the aggregate level, but no current risk assessment method accurately predicts which specific individuals will engage in firearm violence, or when, where, or against whom. The policy endorses a scientific, public health approach to the problem of gun violence that reflects the limits of predicting violence in individual cases. The policy acknowledges the effectiveness of public health approaches to prevention and intervention to minimize harms and recognizes that psychologists must promote health and safety for all people using public health approaches by creating sustainable partnerships with multiple sectors, stakeholders, and disciplines. The public health approach recognizes that effective strategies require capacities and resources at federal, state and local levels to reduce gun violence.

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