Health care professionals serve a vital role in preventative health. Discussing firearm safety habits with patients has been shown to improve patient safety by increasing the number of firearms that are kept locked and unloaded in homes (1, 2). However, due to a lack of training, physicians often do not feel comfortable counseling patients and families regarding safe ownership of guns (3, 4)
Three quarters of current physicians lack formal training on counseling for firearm interventions, and there is currently no standardized medical student or resident physician education surrounding firearm violence (5, 6). We see an important opportunity to train both medical students and residents to counsel patients at risk for injury or death from firearms through improved education.
We plan to:
EMPOWER CURRENT PHYSICIANS
Many physicians are interested in counseling patients about firearms, but do not have training that makes them feel comfortable and competent to do so (7). We will draw on the nation's leading experts as sources for this information, such as UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program’s “What You Can Do” initiative. We aim to:
Equip physicians with knowledge regarding how they can improve the safety of their patients through counseling at-risk populations in their clinics or hospital
Familiarize physicians with the basics of gun safety and ownership
Provide physicians with resources to further educate themselves or refer patients with prior firearm-related trauma. For interested physicians, helpful handouts for patients can be found at these links:
IMPLEMENT Medical School EDUCATION
Medical students are the next generation of physicians, and emphasizing the importance of and gaining comfort with discussing firearm safety with patients from early is vital to incorporating this issue into physicians' daily practice. We aim to:
Incorporate teaching on firearm safety and gun violence into the medical education curriculum for medical students (LCME)
Design and implement an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) for medical students
implement RESIDENCY EDUCATION
Current residents are working with patients every day, often experiencing firsthand the effects of firearm violence. Incorporating firearm education into residency curriculum allows for immediate translation to practice. We aim to:
Incorporate teaching on firearm safety and gun violence into the medical education curriculum for residents (ACGME)
(1) Albright, Teresa L., and Sandra K. Burge. "Improving firearm storage habits: impact of brief office counseling by family physicians." The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice 16.1 (2003): 40-46.
(2) Rowhani-Rahbar, Ali, Joseph A. Simonetti, and Frederick P. Rivara. "Effectiveness of interventions to promote safe firearm storage." Epidemiologic reviews 38.1 (2016): 111-124.
(3) Price, James H., et al. "Psychiatrists’ practices and perceptions regarding anticipatory guidance on firearms." American journal of preventive medicine 33.5 (2007): 370-373.
(4) Roszko, Paul JD, et al. "Clinician attitudes, screening practices, and interventions to reduce firearm-related injury." Epidemiologic reviews 38.1 (2016): 87-110.
(5) Everett SA, Price JH, Bedell AW, et al. Family practice physicians’ firearm safety counseling beliefs and behaviors. J Community Health. 1997;22(5):313–324.
(6) Puttagunta, R., T. R. Coverdale, and John Coverdale. "What is taught on firearm safety in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education? A review of educational programs." Academic psychiatry 40.5 (2016): 821-824.
(7) Olson, Lynn M., Katherine K. Christoffel, and Karen G. O’Connor. "Pediatricians’ involvement in gun injury prevention." Injury Prevention 13.2 (2007): 99-104.