Dr. Jonathan Metzl named Safe Tennessee Project Director of Research


The Safe Tennessee Project is proud to welcome Dr. Jonathan Metzl as our organization’s Director of Research. Dr. Metzl is a highly regarded scholar and a regular contributor to several national news programs on the topics of gun violence, mental health, and race. Dr. Metzl has published extensively on topics pertaining to gun violence including a recent article, “Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms,” in the American Journal of Public Health.

“I support the Constitutional right for people to own guns,” explained Metzl. “At the same time, I’ve become increasingly concerned that certain pro-gun policies put people in the United States at ever-greater risk, rather than protecting them. As a physician, I’ve seen firsthand the ways that gun violence shatters lives and communities. And as a scholar who studies gun violence, I’ve come to understand that much of the pain we endure might well be prevented with more sensible gun policies combined with social investments in the underlying causes of violence.”

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. He received his MD from the University of Missouri, completed his Psychiatric internship/residency at Stanford University, followed by a PhD from University of Michigan. A 2008 Guggenheim fellow, Professor Metzl has written extensively for medical, psychiatric, and popular publications. His books include The Protest Psychosis, Prozac on the Couch, and Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality.

“When we founded The Safe Tennessee Project, we understood the importance of identifying experts in gun violence research, medicine, and mental illness,” said Beth Joslin Roth, founder and Policy Director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “Dr. Metzl, a psychiatrist who has studied, researched and written about gun violence, and who happens to be based here in Nashville, was one of the first people we spoke to about joining our advisory board. Over the past months, he has been a trusted advisor, sharing his knowledge and invaluable research experience. Having him join us as Research Director is an incredible honor and will only increase our credibility as a dedicated gun violence prevention organization.”


Metzl, JM. “Should the Mentally Ill Bear Arms?: Mental Illness Stigma in the Aftermath of Tucson.” Lancet 2011; 377: 2172-73.

Metzl, JM and MacLeish, K. “Triggering the Debate: Faulty Associations Between Violence and Mental Illness Underlie U.S. Gun Control Efforts.” Risk and Regulation 2013, 25: 8-10.

Metzl, JM. “Living and Dying in Mental Health: Guns, Race, and the Politics of Schizophrenic Violence.” In Clara Han and Veena Das, eds., Anthropology of Living and Dying in the Contemporary World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press [forthcoming].

Metzl, JM and MacLeish, K. “Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms.” American Journal of Public Health.


Let’s talk about guns, but stop stereotyping the mentally ill (msnbc.com)

The NRA and race (the grio.com)

When shootings happen, gender has to be part of the conversation” (msnbc.com)