Communities of color and those who live in poverty are disproportionately impacted by the rising tide of gun violence. Conducted as part of a wider study on cardiovascular health, this study aimed to record patients’ accounts of neighborhood gun violence as a theme that surfaced throughout interviews.
Individuals with uncontrolled hypertension were recruited from primary care clinics in metro Richmond, Virginia, serving underserved neighborhoods, for a larger study on improving cardiovascular health, and researchers conducted semistructured qualitative interviews with them. Out of 19 interviewees, 11 brought up the topic of gun violence and its consequences without being prompted.
Acute and chronic traumatic experience, the physiological and cognitive repercussions of gun violence, and the detrimental effects on the capacity to maintain cardiovascular health were all themes that emerged. When conducting qualitative interviews to determine the community-level determinants influencing the management of cardiovascular health, the effects of gun violence on not only cardiovascular health but all areas of health appeared naturally.
Due to the prevalence of the health risks associated with exposure to gun violence, primary care physicians may play a pivotal role in detecting and treating gun violence injuries. More research is needed to determine how primary care physicians can best care for patients affected by gun violence.