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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #30)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 08:18 AM

35. Well, now you're just repeating yourself.


Incidentally, a discussion I'm having elsewhere on DU has reminded me that John Maynard Keynes's degree was not in economics, but in mathematics. I can just hear you now: "Who cares what MATHEMATICIANS say about ECONOMICS! MATHEMATICIANS might be good at ADDING and SUBTRACTING but ECONOMICS is about the ECONOMY and not about MATH!!!!"

One more point I'll address: yes, medical journals like JAMA are plenty qualified to peer review studies like the ones you object to -- public health researchers have been successfully studying things other than diseases for a long time now. In fact, you even find papers on gun violence written by criminologists published in medical or public health journals. One thing you may not know: the editorial board of a journal does not actually perform the peer review. What they do is they select scholars who have an appropriate background to do the refereeing. Which means that, given the extensive interplay between public health researchers and criminologists in this area, JAMA or whoever is obviously going to be able to find qualified people to do the peer review.

And, if you look at other areas where interdisciplinary collaborations are common, you will find papers from one field published in journals from another (e.g. papers on biology in math or computer science journals (or vice versa), papers on economics in psychology journals (or vice versa), and so on). I've seriously never heard of anyone complaining as much about this practice as you.

On top of all that, for certain kind of studies -- say trying to determine whether owning a gun increases or decreases one's risk of crime victimization -- arguably an epidemiologist would be better suited than a criminologist: despite the fact that the word "criminology" is rooted in the word "criminal", criminology is a subfield of sociology, and this type of large-scale observational study is further removed from the traditional sociology curriculum than it is from a public health curriculum. I say "arguably", though, because, as I keep pointing out, this whole discussion is silly -- what any scientist would do is judge the research by its content, rather than by what the PhD of the person performing the research says on it.

Finally, about your mischaracterization of the authors of the Branas study (i.e. "professor of surgery", "cartography", etc.). We've had this discussion before, and I already responded to this, and not surprisingly, you ignored everything I said back then too. Maybe you'll actually read it this time:
For starters, the "nurse" is actually a PhD whose research specialty is injury and violence. As far as the "mapmaker" Dennis Culhane, he's actually the head of something called the "Cartographic Modeling Laboratory" at UPenn. I guess you got the "mapmaker" thing from the word "cartography", but cartographic modeling actually involves building spacial models, and in this study it meant modeling the risk of gun assault based on location in Philly. I don't know if you really think calling Culhane a mapmaker helps your case in any way. To me, it illustrates your cartoonish misunderstanding of what goes on in research universities, and your tendency to want to pigeonhole people as pointy-headed specialists in order to dismiss what they have to say. It would have taken about 10 seconds on google to figure out what cartographic modeling meant, but instead you chose to go for the "mapmaker" knock.

Actually, a very good illustration of the interdisciplinary nature of gun violence research can be found in one of the co-authors of the Branas study, Douglas Wiebe. You'd surely dismiss him as just another epidemiologists straying outside his field, but let's take a look at a few key parts of his profile:
His individualized psychology track had brought him into contact with child victims of abuse, including those who had been removed from their homes and were living in institutional settings. Concerned about the violence that such kids had experienced and the fact that so many had become perpetrators themselves, he pursued a master's degree in criminology. Finding research to be a place that he could channel the energy that had once gone into volleyball, he enrolled in doctoral studies at the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, where he received a PhD in 2000. There he took advantage of an interdisciplinary program, and reframed his research interests on violence and injury to consider how these occur as a function of the way people interact within the constraints of a given environment.

His dissertation work involved a national case-control study of the role of the environment in violence, and found a gun in the home to be a primary risk factor for homicide. The homicide risk associated with in-home guns is especially high for women, which Dr. Wiebe attributes to the "singular danger faced by women in abusive relationships." He published his results in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, given the clinical relevance of the Emergency Department (ED) as one of the few places in which domestic violence victims have contact with the healthcare system. Viewed from a public health perspective, visits to the ED provide an opportunity to identify individuals at risk as well as modifiable risk factors such as a gun in the home. This finding garnered national attention with coverage by The New York Times, and won student paper awards from both the American Public Health Association and the American Society of Criminology. Dr. Wiebe then pursued additional training in epidemiology and public health in a post-doctoral fellowship in violence prevention at the UCLA School of Public Health.

If you read his bio without prejudice, I'd say that he sounds like almost an ideal person to be studying gun violence. He most certainly does have expertise in criminology, as well as victim psychology, victim-criminal interaction, etc. In fact if you look up the School of Social Ecology you find it involved departments of criminology, psychology, and public policy. So here we have another counterexample to your claims about public health people and specifically about the authors of the Branas study.


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Arrow 47 replies Author Time Post
TPaine7 Jun 2012 OP
gejohnston Jun 2012 #1
safeinOhio Jun 2012 #2
gejohnston Jun 2012 #3
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #4
safeinOhio Jun 2012 #5
gejohnston Jun 2012 #7
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #8
bongbong Jun 2012 #6
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #9
Tuesday Afternoon Jun 2012 #10
DanTex Jun 2012 #16
Progressive dog Jun 2012 #11
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #12
Progressive dog Jun 2012 #21
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #25
X_Digger Jun 2012 #32
gejohnston Jun 2012 #33
SGMRTDARMY Jun 2012 #13
gejohnston Jun 2012 #14
Progressive dog Jun 2012 #22
ellisonz Jun 2012 #24
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #28
DanTex Jun 2012 #29
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #36
DanTex Jun 2012 #37
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #38
DanTex Jun 2012 #39
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #40
DanTex Jun 2012 #42
gejohnston Jun 2012 #41
gejohnston Jun 2012 #26
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #27
gejohnston Jun 2012 #34
beevul Jun 2012 #15
clffrdjk Jun 2012 #44
DanTex Jun 2012 #17
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #18
DanTex Jun 2012 #20
ellisonz Jun 2012 #23
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #31
Tuesday Afternoon Jun 2012 #45
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #30
LineLineLineLineLineReply Well, now you're just repeating yourself.
DanTex Jun 2012 #35
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #43
DanTex Jun 2012 #46
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #47
TPaine7 Jun 2012 #19
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