“The first HVIP, Caught in the Crossfire, was launched in 1993 in Oakland, Calif., to offer wraparound mentoring, legal, employment and mental health supports to young people who are in the hospital recovering from a gun injury. Researchers from the University of San Francisco Medical Center evaluated the program and found that participants were 70 percent less likely to be arrested for any offense and 60 percent less likely to be involved in any criminal activity, compared to a control group who did not receive the program’s services. Participants in another gun violence intervention program at the University of Maryland Medical Center were far less likely to be shot again; only 5 percent of those in the program were reinjured, compared to 36 percent who were not in the program.

Over 90 percent of adults who live in homes with guns say they have never discussed firearm safety with a clinician; in an effort to lower that figure, Northwell is conducting a first-of-its-kind National Institutes of Health–funded study. We are currently piloting a universal screening protocol where we ask our patients questions about their exposure to firearms to better understand their risk of being on one end of gun violence or the other.

For the pilot, providers in our health system talk to patients who comes into three of our hospitals about how to avoid gun injuries—the same way we talk to them about sugar intake, exercise, or motor vehicle safety. Previously, there was no standardized procedure for when and how clinicians should have these conversations. We now talk to patients who have access to firearms about safe storage, provide them with gun locks and connect those at risk of gun violence with appropriate intervention services—like peer mentors, mental health support, job training programs, and more.”

Learn more on Gun Violence Is an Epidemic; Health Systems Must Step Up via Scientific American.

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