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Jonathan M. Metzl - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Jonathan M. Metzl

Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health, and Society | Vanderbilt University


World-renowned expert on gun violence and mental illness, white identity politics and race and health.




Jonathan M. Metzl Publication Jonathan M. Metzl Publication Jonathan M. Metzl Publication Jonathan M. Metzl Publication




Jonathan Metzl on political issues that could impact your health How political choices of some white Americans may impact their health Florida shooting suspect suffered from more than mental health | MSNBC Mental Illness is the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings



Jonathan Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry, and the Director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Metzl is a gun violence expert, a professor, and a psychiatrist -- a unique combination that allows him to speak and write about gun violence in America, and in particular to address stereotypes that link guns with race or mental illness, or that blame mental illness for mass shootings and other gun crimes.

Metzl has addressed these issues in numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, the Washington Post, USA Today, and more. His latest book is Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America's Heartland.

Areas of Expertise (13)

Guns in America

Guns and Mental Illness

Gun Violence

Race, Gender and Social Justice in Healthcare

Race and Health


Mental Health




History of Mental Health

Gun Control

Mass shootings

Education (2)

University of Missouri-Kansas City: M.D.

University of Michigan: Ph.D.

Selected Media Appearances (10)

The suspected Monterey Park attacker was 72. Here's why older shooters are rare

NPR  radio


"Men in a younger age range are more likely to get in fights, more likely to be impulsive ... they haven't had full brain development," said Jonathan Metzl, a professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.

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What are the chances the parents of the Highland Park shooter will face prosecution?

CNN  online


"If anything comes out of this, just based on the history of these kind of complaints, I would bet that it would be a civil case, not a criminal case," Jonathan Metzl, a professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University who studies gun violence, said of the likelihood of legal troubles for Bobby Crimo's parents.

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They survived the parade shooting. What do they tell their kids now?

TODAY  online


Dr. Jonathan Metzl, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of sociology and director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, has been studying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mass shootings and gun violence in America for 20 years.

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Supreme Court strikes down NY State Concealed Gun law



Jonathan Metzl and Rep. Ritchie Torres join MSNBC's Jonathan Capehart to discuss how the Supreme Court made it harder for states to regulate guns by overruling a century-old New York law that limited licenses to carry firearms.

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Young men, guns and the prefrontal cortex

Washington Post  online


When Vanderbilt University psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl learned that the perpetrator of the Uvalde, Tex., school massacre was a young man barely out of adolescence, it was hard not to think about the peculiarities of the maturing male brain.

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Activist Investing Has Come for Fossil Fuels. What About Guns?

New York Times  


“It’s kind of a Hail Mary,” said Dr. Jonathan Metzl, the director of the Department of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, whose research focuses on guns in America. Shareholder resolutions are weak, Dr. Metzl said, because they can only influence one company at a time and, without broader, more coordinated pressure, individual gun makers have no incentive to act.

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As Texas school shooting confounds the world, CBS News looks at other countries' reactions to their own massacres

CBS Mornings  tv


"We've got a gun lobby, a corporate gun lobby that has its tentacles so deeply into our political process," said Dr. Jonathan Metzl, a sociologist who told CBS News he's witnessed the gun lobby pressure American politicians into withholding support for new laws by threatening to withdraw campaign finance.

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Activists focus on tip site in protesting Texas abortion law

AP News  online


Dr. Jonathan Metzl, a professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, said that although the website seems “comically inept at this point,” it does “what the actual law on the books is asking people to do, which is to report on people.”

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Family said Colorado suspect had 'mental illness.' Experts say that's rarely the cause of mass shootings.

USA Today  online


"There's no psychotic illness whose symptom is shooting other people," said Dr. Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University.

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Dying of Whiteness

Real Time with Bill Maher  tv


Professor and author Jonathan Metzl joins Bill to discuss how the politics of racial resentment is killing America's heartland.

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Selected Event Appearances (3)

How to Talk About Guns in the Classroom

Division of Health Humanities  University of Illinois


PLENARY PANEL CHAIR/PRESENTATION: Feeling Race in the Public Eye: Media and Race during the Trump Era

American Sociological Association Annual Meeting  Philadelphia Marriott Downtown



American Sociological Association Annual Meeting  Philadelphia Marriott Downtown


Selected Articles (5)

Using a structural competency framework to teach structural racism in pre-health education

Social Science & Medicine

Jonathan M. Metzl, JuLeigh Petty, Oluwatunmise V. Olowojoba

2018 The inclusion of structural competency training in pre-health undergraduate programs may offer significant benefits to future healthcare professionals. This paper presents the results of a comparative study of an interdisciplinary pre-health curriculum based in structural competency with a traditional premedical curriculum.

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The interdependence of African American men's definitions of manhood and health

Fam Community Health

Derek M Griffith, PhD, Associate Professor, Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, PhD, Marino A Bruce, PhD, MSRC, MDiv, CRC, Roland J Thorpe, Jr., PhD, and Jonathan M Metzl, MD, PhD


2016 In this paper we explore themes that cut across how 24-77 year old African American men define manhood and health. Utilizing a thematic approach, we analyzed data from nine focus groups (N=73). We found that manhood and health were relational constructs that are interrelated in men's minds and experiences.

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Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms

American Journal of Public Health

Jonathan M. Metzl MD, PhD, and Kenneth T. MacLeish PhD

2014 Four assumptions frequently arise in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States: (1) that mental illness causes gun violence, (2) that psychiatric diagnosis can predict gun crime, (3) that shootings represent the deranged acts of mentally ill loners, and (4) that gun control “won’t prevent” another Newtown (Connecticut school mass shooting). Each of these statements is certainly true in particular instances.

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Structural Competency Meets Structural Racism: Race, Politics, and the Structure of Medical Knowledge

AMA Journal of Ethics

Jonathan M. Metzl, MD, PhD and Dorothy E. Roberts, JD

2014 Physicians in the United States have long been trained to assess race and ethnicity in the context of clinical interactions. Medical students learn to identify how their patients’ “demographic and cultural factors” influence their health behaviors [1]. Interns and residents receive “cultural competency” training to help them communicate with persons of differing “ethnic” backgrounds [2].

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Structural Competency

American Quarterly

Jonathan M. Metzl

2012 Priscilla Wald's erudite retelling of the Henrietta Lacks story locates individual-level decisions about bodies and cells in the shifting terrain of politics, political economies, and notions of selfhood. Wald takes us on a sweeping tour of philosophical and economic …

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