Published: 06/21/2019

By Susan Coppa

June 18, 2019

India suffers more than twice the number of deaths per year as a result of burns than any other country globally. Women suffer disproportionality from self-inflicted burns and are more likely to die from their injuries.

Jennifer Newberry, MD, JD, a Stanford emergency medicine physician and researcher, and collaborators are working to understand and help those affected by burns in India. Their study, published in BMJ, provides insight into the need for greater mental health and gender-based violence support services for women in India.

Newberry told me she has long been interested in the use of emergency medical services to address gender disparities. “Emergency medicine treats everyone and anyone, and so it can often provide a window into larger societal problems,” she explained.

In 2015, she began working with partners in India to identify ways to improve Indian pre-hospital care. They followed individuals calling 108 (a 911 equivalent) for a burn injury; the median patient age was 31 years and 66 percent were women.