RI Hospital physician-researcher published in New England Journal of Medicine
Megan L. Ranney, M.D., M.P.H., an emergency physician and injury prevention researcher at Rhode Island Hospital, is the lead author on an editorial concerning firearm safety published today by the New England Journal of Medicine. Her co-authors are Marian Betz, M.D., M.P.H. of University of Colorado School of Medicine and Cedric Dark, M.D., M.P.H. of Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine,
Ranney, who founded and directs the Emergency Digital Health Innovation Program at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, is also an associate professor of emergency medicine and at Brown’s School of Public Health. She is an expert in non-partisan public health research on firearm injury. Ranney is frequently interviewed by media outlets on the subject and is among a group of physicians nationally bringing the matter to the public’s attention.
“We are working together, across the political spectrum, to solve this epidemic,” said Ranney. “As a physician and a researcher, I know that it doesn't have to be this way. We can create innovative solutions to reduce firearm injury, the same way we've done for car crash deaths and HIV.”
The editorial examines the explosive spread of the Twitter hashtag, #ThisIsOurLane, born after a November Tweet from the NRA. Ranney, Betz and Dark joined thousands of healthcare professionals across the country in affirming that firearm injury prevention is, in fact, their lane.
“This hashtag isn't a new movement,” said Ranney. “It reflects the daily work of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, year in and year out, to not just save victims of gun violence – but also to prevent it.”
Ranney’s editorial focuses on the role of physicians and other healthcare professionals in identifying sensible solutions to the gun violence epidemic, especially as social media has coalesced the voices of these experts. She highlights that #ThisIsOurLane is neither the beginning nor the end of this work. Ranney’s own Twitter hashtag – #docs4gunsense – created after the Parkland, Florida, shootings, yielded hundreds of responses from physicians and other health care workers who shared gut-wrenching summaries of their experiences with the traumatic aftermath of gun violence. In the NEJM editorial, she shares not just personal physician stories, but also examples of the non-partisan work that physicians and other healthcare organizations are doing to stop firearm injury. “At the end of the day, it’s about keeping our patients, families, and communities safe,” she says.
Ranney serves as chief research officer for the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM) and has held roles on numerous task forces related to efforts to stem gun violence, including co-chairing Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s Task Force on Gun Violence. She has published and presented extensively both nationally and internationally on gun violence and other types of violent injury.