Firearm-injury prevention effort launches central website


A new website will serve as a central hub for the University of Michigan’s effort to generate new knowledge and advance solutions toward reducing firearm injuries, a public health crisis linked to more than 100 U.S. deaths per day.

The Firearm Injury Prevention Research Initiative, led by the Office of the Vice President for Research, launched this month to help partners across campus and beyond coordinate research, educational activities and community outreach.

“The United States is unquestionably facing a public health crisis as it relates to firearm violence,” said President Mark Schlissel, who announced the initiative last October. “The University of Michigan has the excellence and commitment to our public mission to find solutions that address this crisis.”

U-M researchers in fields such as public health, medicine, social sciences, engineering, public policy and the arts will work together on critical questions about firearm-injury prevention, while respecting the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

The new site features firearm-injury prevention research findings from U-M faculty, as well as key university centers that address gun violence. The site also lists a faculty steering committee working to identify ways to best catalyze firearm injury prevention research and scholarship.

The university also will appoint an external stakeholder committee to ensure a diversity of perspectives beyond academia. It will include national representation from gun owners, faith-based and K-12 leadership, law enforcement, rural and urban community groups, firearm violence survivors and families.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 39,741 people died in 2018 from gun-related injuries across the U.S.

“For serious public health problems, such as motor vehicle crashes, our nation has turned to scientific evidence to prevent injuries — firearms should be no different,” said Rebecca Cunningham, interim vice president for research, who has authored more than 45 scholarly publications on firearm injury prevention.

“We cut the number of motor vehicle deaths in half, not by taking cars off the road, but by improving safety measures. There’s a very good precedent across injury prevention science that we can decrease firearm injuries without limiting the number of guns.”

The Firearm Injury Prevention Research Initiative capitalizes on the university’s strengths in firearm-injury prevention research and scholarship, which include:

  • More federal research funding secured by U-M to study firearm-injury prevention than any other U.S. university — more than $12.5 million from 2017-19 alone.
  • A $6 million center planned for the School of Public Health to serve as a national research and training center on school safety.
  • U-M leading a national consortium across 12 universities and health systems that takes an injury-prevention approach to address firearm deaths among children and adolescents.
  • U-M operating the nation’s largest collection of firearm datasets.

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