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Colorado doctors leading new firearm injury prevention initiative

Colorado doctors leading new firearm injury prevention initiative
Colorado doctors leading new firearm injury prevention initiative 02:35

The number of people impacted by gun violence in Colorado is growing.

As a Denver Public School parent, Paul Ballenger says the recent shooting at East High School hit home.

"The biggest and most alarming thing is talking to the children, they don't say if it happens, they always say typically, when it happens," Ballenger said.

He is now a member of the Parents Safety Advocacy Group. They've taken it upon themselves to find ways to prevent further tragedy.

"For us seeing it over and over and not really seeing action has become very frustrating," he said.

Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have a similar mission and have launched the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative to take a closer look at why.

"So, what we are trying to do is use, research, education, and collaboration with communities to prevent all types of firearm injuries and death that includes those in our home so suicide, accidents, domestic violence," Dr. Emmy Betz said.

Betz is leading the initiative that will bring doctors and scientists together to take a nonpartisan look at the data around firearm injuries and deaths.

"Some people say, why? Why are doctors -- why are public health people -- even involved? Why is the school of medicine doing this? You know it's that we see people who are hurt, who are injured, emotionally or physically. So, we have that firsthand experience," Betz said. "We also know how to work with everyone. We treat everyone the same, regardless of their political ideology or their backgrounds. We want people to be healthy. And in public health, we have the tools, the skills, the scientific approach to fix complex problems like this."

She hopes their work will be a resource for those responsible for developing new policies, but also a tool for those like Ballenger who are fighting for change.

"You can't fix something unless you identify the problem," Ballenger said.

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