Research shows homicides as leading cause of premature death in African Americans

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Black lives are being cut short at the hands of gun violence. Researchers from Indiana University's School of Public Health in Bloomington did the research put real life numbers to the problem.

A recent study looked at all deaths in the United States in 2015 and broke them down into a list of causes of death.

They divided the numbers between black and white people and found Of the 2.7 million deaths in 2015 when you look at homicides more than 8,000 of those victims were white while while more than 9,000 of them were black.

"All deaths but especially highlighting the deaths that happen in to younger people as being a little more important because you're losing years of potential life," said IU School of Public Health assistant professor, Molly Rosenberg.

Rosenberg was the lead researcher of the study. The team found for black Americans homicide was the leading cause of early death. For white Americans homicide was the 12th cause of early death.

"Homicide disproportionately affects black american health and if we continue to not invest in researching its prevention like we do for most other major health crisis we are going to perpetuate a system that disproportionately affects the health of black Americans," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg says this is a black american public health concern and it's largely under researched with just a hand full of studies. While top causes of years of life lost in white Americans like heart disease received more than 300 federal grants and about 600 publications in 2015.

"If we want to say that we are funding research to improve the health of black and white Americans we're falling short," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg says she hopes this stirs some conversation about federal funds being allocated to this type of research to dig deeper into why this is the case. As it stands rules are on the books to prohibit federal dollars from going to firearm violence research.