NIH awards 10 grants addressing firearm violence prevention

In recent years, approximately 40,000 deaths each year in the United States are from firearms, 60% of which are suicides and 37% of which are homicides.1 In 2019, firearm-related injuries were one of the leading causes of death for American children, teens, and adults less than 65 years of age.2 In addition to firearm deaths, many more Americans experience non-fatal firearm injuries. When firearms are involved with violent events, the risk for injury and mortality increases. Firearm violence is responsible for three quarters of all homicide deaths and is the most common and lethal means of suicide. Firearm injury and mortality also contribute to health disparities with some demographic groups being at much higher risk than others. Black males between the ages of 15 and 24 had a gun homicide rate more than 20 times higher than White males of the same age group in 2019.3

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to supporting scientific research to develop, evaluate, and implement effective public health interventions to understand and prevent violence, including firearm violence, and the resulting trauma, injuries, and mortality. With $12.5 million in funding provided to NIH through the FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133) to conduct research on firearm injury and mortality prevention, NIH released two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) (PAR-21-191, PAR-21-192).

These FOAs were intended to solicit applications for research to improve understanding of the determinants of firearm injury, the identification of those at risk of firearm injury (including both victims and perpetrators), the development and evaluation of innovative interventions to prevent firearm injury and mortality, and the examination of approaches to improve the implementation of existing, evidence-based interventions to prevent firearm injury and mortality. The FOAs took a broad public health approach to firearm injury and mortality prevention, encouraging research on interventions delivered by healthcare providers and systems and those delivered in community settings, as well as research that integrated individual, family, interpersonal, community, and structural or system (e.g., criminal justice, schools, hospital systems) approaches to firearm injury and mortality prevention.

In response to these FOAs, the NIH contributed Congressionally appropriated funding to nine grant awards for firearm violence prevention research. The National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders program partially funded one of the awards and fully funded an additional grant award addressing firearm safety among older adults with mild cognitive impairment and early dementia. All 10 awards build upon the existing NIH violence research portfolio and address gaps and emerging opportunities to understand and prevent firearm violence injury and mortality.


Contact Principal Investigator


Award Title

Award Number


University of Colorado, Denver

Safety in Dementia: An Online Caregiver Intervention

1 R01 AG076364-01 (NIA)*


University of Chicago

Predicting and Preventing Gun Violence: An Evaluation of READI Chicago

1 R01 MD017194-01 (NIMHD)


Columbia University Medical Center

A Nationwide Case-Control Study of Firearm Violence Prevention Tactics and Policies in K-12 Schools

1 R01 HD108027-01 (NICHD)


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Firearm violence prevention through community-engaged vacant property reuse: Application of Busy Streets Theory in Detroit

1 R01 HD108021-01 (NICHD)



Florida State University

The Individual, Situational, and Contextual Risk Factors for Violent Firearm Injury and Firearm Homicide: A Comparative, Policy-Focused Approach

1 R01 MD017204-01 (NIMHD)


Northwestern University

FOREST (Fostering Optimal Regulation of Emotion for prevention of Secondary Trauma): Implementation and evaluation of a burnout prevention program for staff in gun violence prevention programs

1 R21 AT011863-01 (NCCIH)


Oregon Health & Science University

Risk prediction and optimizing outcomes to 1-year after firearm injury among children using emergency services in the US

1 R01 HD108017-01 (NICHD)


University of Washington  

Shared Decision-Making for Firearm Safety among Older Adults at High Risk for Firearm Suicide

1 R21 AG076362-01 (NIA)**


Stanford University

Relationship between lawful handgun ownership and risk of homicide victimization in the home

1 R01 AG076382-01 (NIA)


Virginia Commonwealth University

Preventing Firearm Violence in Youth: A hospital-based prevention strategy

1 R01 HD108025-01 (NICHD)


* Funded by NIA using Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative funds
** Additional funding support provided by NIA using Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative funds


Research supported by these funding announcements is consistent with a public health approach to firearm injury and mortality prevention and includes various types of projects:

  • Several projects include Community Violence Intervention programs (CVI) and seek to develop and/or evaluate CVIs to reduce the risk of future firearm violence and identify barriers for the implementation of these interventions. These CVI projects include emergency department-based interventions at the point of care, place-based interventions that include vacant lot reuse, and comprehensive programs that focus on service provision and community engagement among particularly high-risk populations. One project is developing, implementing, and evaluating a burnout prevention program for CVI staff, which could have important implications for sustaining effective CVI programs.
  • Additional awards aim to identify risk and protective factors for firearm injury and mortality at multiple levels, ranging from biobehavioral to family, community, and policy. For example, one project is investigating the impact of several school policies and school safety strategies that may reduce school-based violent incidents. Others are investigating a range of individual, situational, relational, and/or policy factors and the prediction of homicide victimization.
  • Awarded projects also focus on suicide prevention techniques by developing decision aid tools for safer firearm storage targeted to persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and its related dementias or persons diagnosed with clinical depression.
  • Importantly, these projects cover a range of types of firearm violence including suicide, youth violence, and childhood injury. In addition, projects are diverse in their inclusion of populations across the lifespan (children, youth, older adults) and across several at-risk or vulnerable populations including young black men, people with Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias, and justice-involved individuals.