U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wants to move U.S. health care toward a “prevention-based society.” Such a society, he says, is “one in which every institution, whether they’re a hospital or a clinic, or a school, an employer or a faith-based organization, recognizes and embraces the role that it can play in improving health […] there are profound influences in the community that ultimately impact health[,] [w]hich is why we have to engage community institutions ultimately in changing our trajectory of health from one of illness to, ultimately, one of wellness.”
While Dr. Murthy’s primary focus is on obesity and other chronic diseases, along with mental health, his prevention-based attitude also applies to his earlier statement concerning gun violence as a public health issue.
“The truth is whenever large numbers of people are dying for preventable reasons, that’s a public health issue, [w]hether that’s because of automobile accidents […] because of violence […] because of toxicity from other causes. And so my concern in this area has come from my experience as a doctor who’s cared for many patients who’ve been the victims of all kinds of violence, and my hope is that we can come together as a country to find ways that we can reduce violence while respecting people’s legal and constitutional rights,” he says.
“I don’t think that’s too much to ask for […] I think the majority of the country recognizes that there is a middle road[,] and the question is[,] do we have the courage to find that road, and to walk down it?”