New guidelines intended to help health providers prevent gun injuries and deaths

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Each year, approximately 40,000 people in the United States die because of guns, making firearm-related injuries a leading cause of death for adults and children. According to a recent report, gun violence surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, making 2020 one of the nation’s deadliest years for firearm-related casualties on record.

Health care professionals could help reduce the toll, but only about 20% receive any education on their role in firearm injury prevention. With a goal of changing that, a consortium of scientists, physicians and educators from across the country—a significant number of whom are firearm owners—established new guidelines on educational priorities regarding firearm injury prevention training for health care professionals. The guidelines were published this month in the journal Academic Medicine.

“Our job as clinicians is to help patients stay healthy,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, a Brown University professor of emergency medicine who was the senior author on the study and served as a mentor and advisor on the project. “We ask and counsel about a lot of things ranging from diet to smoking to seat belts to pool safety. Yet study after study has shown that we do not do that for firearm injury.” READ MORE