Cook County Experts Address Public Health Implications of Gun Violence

Today, Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by leading clinical experts to discuss gun violence as a public health issue in Cook County. 

In 2017, 744 people in Cook County died in gun-related homicides. More than 1,100 patients were treated for gun-related injuries at Stroger Hospital, the flagship hospital for Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) in that same year.

“When we talk about gun violence in Chicago, Cook County and America, we rarely frame the issue as a public health crisis. And that’s wrong. Because for every other health issue or disease affecting our communities – whether it’s the flu or cancer or AIDS – we rely on clinical data to inform our governance, legislation and science to try to improve outcomes for our residents and patients,” President Preckwinkle said. “Willful ignorance to our gun crisis enables it to flourish.”

The panel of Cook County experts included: Cook County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar, Dr. Faran Bokhari, Chair, Cook County Trauma & Burn Unit, Stroger Hospital, CCHHS, and Rev. Carol Reese, Violence Prevention Coordinator/Chaplain, Stroger Hospital, CCHHS, and Program Director, Healing Hurt People – Chicago.

As part of an effort to increase transparency and awareness of Cook County’s public health issues such as gun violence, the Cook County Medical Examiner unveiled a database allowing users to explore data on deaths in Cook County, including gun and drug-related deaths.

The database, which shares Medical Examiner data from August 2014 to now, is available at the Medical Examiner’s Website:

The expert panel convened today is just one step in an information-gathering process to be conducted by President Preckwinkle and her team in the lead-up to unveiling a comprehensive, strategic policy platform later in 2018.

In the Downloads section you will find a factsheet from CCHHS, one of the nation’s leading social safety net hospital systems, sharing its data and analysis on gun violence as a public health crisis.