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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Public Health Plays Important Role in Aftermath of Terror

With a nine-fold increase in deaths worldwide due to terrorism between 2000 and 2014, more work is needed to prepare communities to deal with such attacks and to reduce the harm done by exposure to violence, a commentary co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher says.

In an editorial in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr. Jaimie Gradus, an assistant professor of epidemiology and of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, who also is a researcher at the VA National Center for PTSD, and colleagues reviewed an article led by Norwegian researchers that examined the public health consequences of the July 2011 terrorist attack in Norway.

They said the research to date on the mental and physical health consequences of terrorist-related events “indicates that public health has a major role in designing intervention and prevention efforts that mitigate the health effects of these events on a community level.”

Dr. Gradus and colleagues suggested several steps that communities can take to mitigate the impact of terror events, including “creating and preparing community-based support and intervention systems” before incidents occur, and disseminating information about the range of physical and emotional responses to such exposures and where to seek assistance for them.

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