Kaiser Permanente will fund three clinical research studies that focus on how clinicians can help prevent firearm injuries — including suicide, intimate partner violence and accidents — as part of its pledge to invest $2 million to prevent gun injuries and deaths.
This initial research funding will support the following studies to be undertaken by investigators at three of Kaiser Permanente's regional research institutes in partnership with its Permanente Medical Group clinicians and physicians:
Evaluating a web-based education tool for safe firearm storage in patients at risk for suicide — Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research.
Understanding risk factors of firearm-related injuries and death in adult and pediatric populations: Risk prediction and opportunities for prevention – Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.
Integration of firearm suicide-prevention tools in healthcare settings: Patient-reported access to firearms and decision aid for storing firearms – Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.
"We believe that safety is integral to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. People need to be safe in the places where they live, work, learn and play," said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente. "We know that firearm injury is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and we can leverage our research capabilities combined with our deep clinical experience to help tackle this issue."
In 2018, Kaiser Permanente announced the formation of its Firearm Injury Prevention Task Force and an accompanying $2 million research fund to address preventable gun-related injuries and death. The initiative's goal is to understand what the best practices currently are, to investigate new ones and to standardize practices that are grounded in evidence and show demonstrated effectiveness.
"The best-in-class care Kaiser Permanente provides is accomplished, in part, by our use of rigorous research to determine which strategies are effective," said David Grossman, MD, MPH, senior associate medical director with the Washington Permanente Medical Group and co-chair of the Firearm Injury Prevention Task Force. "This funding is an initial down payment on tackling a critical issue, and we hope our firearm research program will serve as a model and catalyze future efforts to close the research gaps that exist."
Each of the 24-month studies will focus on groups considered to be high risk for either intentional or unintentional firearm injuries. In line with Kaiser Permanente's commitment to making best practices and research learnings accessible across the healthcare industry, the findings of these studies will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
"This announcement is a key step in our long-term commitment to address gun-related injury and death in our communities, and the resulting research will provide important guides to be used throughout the healthcare sector for clinical firearm injury prevention," said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president, chief community health officer at Kaiser Permanente, and co-chair of the Firearm Injury Prevention Task Force. "With more than 68 million people living in Kaiser Permanente's communities, it is our responsibility to bring together health leaders and clinical care providers to help solve this public health challenge and, ultimately, save lives."