Professor Receives Department of Justice Award

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Bindu Kalesan at the SPH event, “Gun Violence: Stories Behind the Numbers,” on September 28.

Bindu Kalesan, assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and assistant professor of community health sciences at the School of Public Health, is the recipient of a three-year, $693,695 award from the US Department of Justice to study “racial and ethnic differences in non-fatal firearm injuries using a spatiotemporal approach.” The goal is to understand the differences in risk factors associated with gun injuries in different regions of the country in order to tailor efforts to specific places to reduce them.

“Centrally we do not understand the factors associated with the increase in non-fatal firearm injury, or the racial differences in these increasing rates and the spatial differences that are changing over time,” Kalesan says. A better understanding of those factors, she believes, “will allow a tailored approach in implementing interventions and public health programs to reduce the epidemic of firearm violence.”

Although there has been much discussion both in scientific literature and the mainstream media about firearm deaths, less attention is paid to the non-fatal firearm injuries that constitute 70 percent of the victims of firearm violence, who continue to suffer from multiple health and social problems throughout their lives. However, the burden of injury and subsequent diseases is not consistent across population groups—particularly those based on race and ethnicity. Gun violence survivorship burden is also not consistent across the country, with substantial spatial heterogeneity with differences at the state and county level, which is itself changing over time.

Kalesan and Sandro Galea, dean and Robert A. Knox Professor, plan to use a unique compilation of seven large national data sources across 25 years (1993 to 2017) and multi-level models with time-varying covariates to address the central question of racial-ethnic differences in non-fatal firearm injuries.

Posted by BU School of Public Health.