NIH Awards Grants for Firearm Injury and Mortality Prevention Research

Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. die from firearm-related injuries each year, primarily from suicide (60 percent) or homicide (37 percent), and many more have experienced 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 homicide deaths and is the most common and lethal means of suicide. Firearm injury and mortality also contribute to health disparities—among males aged 20 to 24, the firearm homicide rate is more than 10 times higher for black men than for white men. Modifiable risk factors associated with firearm violence include a number of personal (e.g., alcohol abuse), interpersonal (e.g., social network), and community (e.g., high unemployment) factors.

The NIH is committed to understanding effective public health interventions to prevent violence, including firearm violence, and the trauma, injuries, and mortality resulting from violence. In response to funding provided to NIH through the Fiscal Year 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1865) to conduct research on firearm injury and mortality prevention, NIH solicited 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.

We are pleased to announce the following awards were made, totaling approximately $8.5 million. These awards build upon the existing NIH violence research portfolio and address gaps and emerging opportunities to understand and prevent firearm violence injury and mortality.

Online Storage Maps to Facilitate Voluntary Firearm Storage: Mixed Methods Evaluation 1 R61 MH125754-01 (NIMH) BETZ, MARIAN ELIZABETH University of Colorado, Denver
Decision Making Among Older Adults: Firearm Retirement 3 R01 AG059613-02S1 (NIA) BETZ, MARIAN ELIZABETH University of Colorado, Denver
Mechanisms Underlying the Association of Firearm Availability and Vulnerability to Suicide 1 R61 MH125759-01 (NIMH) BRYAN, CRAIG J The Ohio State University
A Comparison of Firearm-Related Intimate Partner Homicide in Texas and Maryland: Prevalence, Identification of Those at Risk, and the Effect of Firearm Regulations 1 R61 HD104570-01 (NICHD) CAMPBELL, JACQUELYN CUTLER Johns Hopkins University
Firearm Injury and Mortality Prevention with Project Talent 1 R61 AG072408-01 (NIA) CHAPMAN, BENJAMIN P University of Rochester
Evaluating Implementation and Feasibility of Evidence-Based Universal Screening and Intervention Strategies for Firearm Injury and Mortality Prevention Among Youth and Adults in Emergency Departments 1 R61 HD104566-01 (NICHD) MCGINN, THOMAS G Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Alcohol Restrictions and Firearm Prohibitions Based on Mental Illness: Effects on Fatal and Nonfatal Firearm Injuries 1 R61 AA029064-01 (NIAAA) NICOSIA, NANCY RAND Corporation
Impact of State-Level Policies on Maternal Mortality 3 R01 HD096070-03S1 (NICHD) WALLACE, MAEVE E Tulane University of Louisiana
Family Safety Net: Developing an Upstream Suicide Prevention Approach to Encourage Safe Firearm Storage in Rural and Remote Alaskan Homes 1 R61 MH125757-01 (NIMH) WEXLER, LISA M University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

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

  • Several projects seek to identify risk and protective factors for firearm injury and mortality at multiple levels, ranging from the biobehavioral to the family, community, and policy levels.
  • Additional projects will be developing and pilot testing innovative and theoretically grounded programs or procedures to prevent firearm injury and mortality while also considering real-world barriers and facilitators to support broader adoption these practices. These projects often include a diverse group of stakeholders including firearm owners, public health professionals, law enforcement, and other relevant groups.
  • Projects include a range of types of firearm violence prevention such as suicide, intimate partner violence, and youth violence.
  • Projects are also diverse in their inclusion of populations ranging from youth to older adults, Alaska Native populations, men and women, and those who are firearm owners or not.