What role can public health have in preventing gun violence?
The Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies at the Massachusetts General Hospital (CAMTech) asked that question earlier this year at its Gun Violence Prevention Hackathon, in which CAMTech employed a public health approach to gun violence prevention by generating innovations that can address gun safety, mental health, community resilience, and policy.
“Our goal is to foster innovations that have patient or public health impacts. In addition, we seek to help foster med-tech ecosystems that enable people to solve their own health care challenges beyond the event. Hence, the effectiveness of hackathons are ultimately when ideas generated from them have achieved scaling and when a robust innovation ecosystem demonstrates it’s own ability to respond to identified pain points,” explained Dr Kris Olson, CAMTech Director.
The Challenge Summit convened clinicians, government representatives, public health experts and affected community members to facilitate a discussion and provide critical insight into gun violence prevention. The Hackathon served as an open-innovation platform for a diverse community to co-create innovations over a 48-hour period. Through cross-disciplinary collaboration, mentorship and award incentives, teams had the chance to accelerate ideas into breakthrough innovations with the potential to curb the epidemic of gun violence and improve the lives of survivors.
I spoke with Doctor Peter Greenspan, part of the winning team: Good Guys with a Gun. Its solution was an app and website-based education tool that uses embedded Public Service Announcements to train gun owners about gun safety. Watch and listen to what he had to say.