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Where Discovery Leads: CHOP Research Leads to Novel Interventions for Gun Violence Prevention

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In recognition of National Gun Violence Prevention Month, this video is part of a multimedia storytelling project that delves into CHOP Research Institute’s scientific studies aimed at addressing gun violence and prevention.

Transcript

Joel Fein, MD, MPH, Co-Director, Center for Violence Prevention; Co-Leader, Health and Behavioral Research Affinity Group; Attending Physician, CHOP Emergency Department: I’m Joel Fein. I am the co-director of the Center for Violence Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Our Center runs trauma-informed programs and preforms research and evaluation within those programs to prevent and ameliorate the impact of violence on children and families.

We are really trying to build a robust gun violence and gun safety program in our Institution. We have started by asking questions of parents to see if they would like or need a gun safety locking device, like a gun lock or a gun safe. But we also provide education for them in the Primary Care clinics and the Emergency Department.

Our research has shown that parents and caretakers are actually appreciative and do not mind being asked about guns at least in the Emergency Department and our Primary Care clinics. And we’ve also shown that if we do give education to parents and caretakers that we can actually decrease the unsafe storage of guns in homes where our children live and play. And we’re hoping to expand this throughout the Institution.

It’s critically important that kids cannot access guns. We were able to complete a study led by Dr. Aditi Visan at CHOP and using the methods from Dr. Gena South at Penn that showed that children who live near gunshot injuries or when gunshots occur, had a higher odds of coming to the emergency department for mental health reasons within weeks of those gunshot events.

For any advocacy issue it’s important to have data, numbers, and demonstrate the impact of important interventions. With the voice of research and community members — using those together to convince policymakers and influencers that these are the important issues that we have to address, and here’s why, and here’s what the impact could be. Using data — and stories. The combination of data and stories can be really compelling for those policy makers and people who are influencing practice.

I think that everybody in our city and even nationally should look towards partnering with each other to bring their expertise and their knowledge to this area. This is, we know have reached crisis proportions as far as gun violence is concerned in our city and other cities across our country. We have to kind of drop our walls and our barriers to all start to work together. We started to do that in Philadelphia and I know they’re doing that around the country. That is critical to kind of work together as a whole force.