U-M Firearm Injury Prevention Signature

News

As experts on firearm violence and firearm injury prevention, we know that active shooter events within school settings in the U.S. have increased substantially in the years running up to the pandemic. Meanwhile, our research indicates that in the early months of the public health crisis, more families with teenage children purchased firearms – increasing the potential risk that a teen could gain unsupervised access to a firearm.

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“SafERteens,” an evidence-based behavioral intervention, is designed to engage youth at this high-risk time and reduce their involvement with violence. Two recently published studies demonstrate that this intervention, considered best practice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can be successfully integrated as a part of routine medical care delivery in both emergency and primary care settings.

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The U.S. spends far less on studying what led to firearm injuries in kids and teens, and what might prevent and treat them, than it spends on other, less-common causes of death in children between the ages of 1 and 18 years, a U-M study shows. On a per-death basis, funding for pediatric firearm research is 30 times lower than it would have to be to keep pace with research on other child health threats.

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U-M Professors Rebecca Cunningham, Marc Zimmerman and Patrick Carter have dedicated their careers to understanding violence and injury prevention, including how firearm injury and deaths happen and how they can be prevented. The professors published an article that focuses on youth firearm violence.

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Experts released the largest-ever examination on the state of youth firearm injury research – whether intentional, unintentional or self-inflicted. The bottom line? Far more research, and better research, is needed on children, teens and the prevention and aftermath of firearm injuries and deaths.

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For the past half-decade, Detroit’s government and community groups have worked to tear down abandoned houses and other buildings in the city’s most blight-stricken neighborhoods, in the name of public safety and quality of life. A study led by U-M and Harvard shows an 11 percent drop in homicides and serious injuries caused by firearms in the areas where more than a few demolitions took place

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SafERteens

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

SafERteens is a brief, evidence-based intervention designed by U-M researchers to prevent fighting and alcohol-related consequences among adolescents. Through a 30-minute intervention during a routine primary care visit, participants are guided to explore their goals and values, how risky behaviors could affect their goals, and positive ways to resolve conflict.

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U-M Professors Rebecca Cunningham, Marc Zimmerman and Patrick Carter participated in a panel discussion with Michigan Medicine's Ed Bottomley to discuss youth firearm violence, an urgent public health issue. The professors lead the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) consortium.

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Every day, 20 veterans across America die by suicide — and most of them use a firearm. A survey of 660 veterans who receive mental health care at five Veterans Health Administration centers across the country finds that 93 percent would approve of the Veterans Affairs Department offering at least one option to address firearm access.

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Rebecca Cunningham participated in a Q&A that focused on firearm injury prevention research. It's important to have research on firearms and on guns safety because, otherwise, we don't have evidence-based solutions, says Cunningham, who has authored more than 45 scholarly publications on firearm injury prevention.

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Teens and young adults support gun regulation, but not necessarily the ban of all guns, a U-M study shows. Like their adult counterparts, most youths are not asking to ban all guns or to repeal the Second Amendment, a U-M researcher said. Rather, they support legislative action that they believe would make their country safer.

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Four out of five parents of kids ages 9 to 12 say they are very confident their child would appropriately handle an emergency like a storm (82 percent) or a fire (78 percent). Sixty-four percent of parents are confident their child would know when to call 911. Fewer parents (53 percent) are very confident their tween would not play with guns when adults weren’t home.

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