Teams based in Injury Prevention Center win two of CDC's first grants for firearms-specific research in 20 years.
In a milestone of research funding, three teams of University of Michigan researchers have received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address issues related to firearm injury.
The new multiyear grants, totaling $4.6 million, come from a new source of CDC funding to address a cause of death that kills 109 Americans each day. The 16 new grants to U-M and other institutions are believed to be the first CDC funding that specifically focuses on firearm injury prevention research in more than 20 years.
The new grants add to U-M’s more than $13 million in other federal, state, private and philanthropic funding for firearm-related research.
In fall 2019, U-M president Mark Schlissel launched the U-M Firearm Injury Prevention Research Initiative, to bring together experts across all three U-M campuses to increase research, scholarship and community engagement on firearm-related topics.
“Gun violence continues to leave a devastating impact on our communities across the United States, with more than 100 people dying each day from firearm-related injuries,” said Rebecca Cunningham U-M vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Michigan Medicine.
“Scientific evidence can provide us with important answers to address many public health crises, and so with support from the CDC, we are in position to formulate and answer critical questions about firearm injury prevention.”
Cunningham and her colleagues this week held the second annual FACTS conference that connected nearly 400 firearm researchers and others from across the country. It was convened by the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens initiative that is based at U-M and funded by the National Institutes of Health.
At the conference, Schlissel told attendees that “through science, we can bring a clarity that hasn’t been possible before.”
“We too often hear the phrase ‘unspeakable tragedies’ when hearing about Americans killed by gun violence or suicide,” he said. “But I believe that the knowledge you are generating by examining data-driven solutions will speak loudly to the people of our nation. If we give researchers the right opportunities, we can begin to solve this crisis.”
The new CDC grants include two to members of the U-M Injury Prevention Center, one of IHPI's collaborating centers.
IntERact: Preventing Risky Firearm Behaviors Among Urban Youth Seeking Emergency Department Care
Led by Patrick Carter, director of the U-M Injury Prevention Center, IHPI member and associate professor of emergency medicine and public health, this three-year project will fund a randomized controlled trial of a technology-enhanced behavioral intervention program that has shown early promise in reducing risky firearm behavior and violence in youth ages who are seen in the emergency department and have reported carrying firearms recently. Using remote behavioral therapy supported by an innovative smartphone app to deliver content between therapy sessions, the study will determine the efficacy of the program so that it can inform other prevention and harm-reduction efforts in health care settings.
Multi-Site External Validation and Improvement of a Clinical Screening Tool for Future Firearm Violence
Led by Jason Goldstick, research associate professor of emergency medicine, this three-year project will use cutting-edge machine learning methods to optimize the ability to assess young people’s risk for firearm violence so that prevention resources and emergency department interventions can be used efficiently. It will focus on validating a screening tool called the SAFETY score that emergency department teams can use to identify young people at the highest risk for firearm violence involvement to help direct intervention efforts.