NEWS | January 13, 2015

UC Davis emergency medicine physician recognized for gun violence prevention work


Garen J. Wintemute, one of the nation’s foremost scholars addressing gun violence as a public-health problem, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the California Aggie Alumni Association for his exemplary professional achievements and service.

Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine, photographed during a shift in the emergency room at UC Davis Medical Center. Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine, photographed during a shift in the emergency room at UC Davis Medical Center.

A professor of emergency medicine and director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, Wintemute will be honored at a reception at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento Feb. 6 along with six other 2015 alumni-association awardees

Wintemute is a pioneer in the field of injury epidemiology and the prevention of firearm violence, which results in approximately 30,000 deaths a year and approximately 75,000 nonfatal injuries seen in hospital emergency departments. His longstanding commitment to understand the nature of firearm violence and its underlying causes has produced a uniquely rich and informative body of research on firearm violence that improves the health and safety of Americans and that positions California — and UC Davis — as national leaders in efforts to break the cycle of gun violence.

His groundbreaking work — conducted despite the lack of federal funding for research on gun violence for nearly two decades  — has increased awareness of gun violence as a public-health problem, fueling change in the industry and innovative legislation to prevent easy access to guns used in crime.

Throughout his career, Wintemute has received many honors and awards and has testified before Congress, the California legislature and various local governments and provided comments to Frontline, CNN, the New York Times and numerous other media outlets. He has served as a consultant for the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Red Cross.

In 2010, Wintemute was featured in the HBO documentary “Gun Fight,” directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, which brought to light the complex issues surrounding firearms and the debate over how best to reduce violence.

Wintemute earned his medical degree in 1977 from UC Davis School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency in family medicine. In 1981, he was medical coordinator at Nong Samet Refugee Camp in Cambodia, a remote area that had only recently been liberated from the governance of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. He later returned stateside to merge his medical training with public policy, and earned an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins in 1983. He also holds the Susan P. Baker-Stephen P. Teret Chair in Violence Prevention at UC Davis.