June 16, 2022

Leadership and innovation to prevent gun injuries and deaths

Kaiser Permanente’s new Center for Gun Violence Research and Education announces $1.3 million in grants.

Contact: Hilary Costa

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health care provider, has launched a new Center for Gun Violence Research and Education. The goal of the center is to reduce the incidence and impact of gun violence, including intimate partner violence and suicide, in the United States. The center will work to address the emotional and psychological trauma related to the aftermath of shootings and will focus on the profound disparate impact that gun violence has had in communities of color. It will also provide strong leadership and collaboration with health care providers, community-based organizations, and businesses seeking to participate in solutions that will have a measurable impact on the gun violence epidemic.

The center will develop, test, and scale public health and health care solutions to addressing gun violence, including:

  • Research efforts focusing on solutions and interventions to gun violence, and the long-term psychological consequences of these incidents, that are promising but in need of additional evidence
  • Education efforts addressing the need to inform the public, health care stakeholders, businesses, policymakers, and community-based organizations about the role they can play in reducing gun violence and the consequences of gun violence
  • Innovation efforts focusing on novel public health and health care processes, policies, and intervention models to prevent gun shootings, including those that are self-inflicted and between intimate partners

The center will amplify its impact beginning with $1.3 million in funding and collaboration with nonprofit organizational partners with a shared interest in gun violence prevention research, innovation, and education.

Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the United States, claiming more than 45,000 lives each year and surpassing motor vehicle fatalities as the leading cause of injury death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is increasingly and distressingly clear that gun violence is a public health crisis in the U.S., claiming lives and creating trauma with untold, long-lasting consequences for countless people,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, chief health officer and senior vice president for Community Health at Kaiser Permanente. “As a major health care organization caring for 12.6 million people, we are in a unique position to expand, amplify, and implement promising work underway by health care and public health leaders to prevent future gun-related injuries and deaths, starting with a series of grants to organizations focused on addressing gun violence.”

The grants, to include distribution through Kaiser Permanente's fund at the East Bay Community Foundation, are laying the groundwork for the center’s future collaboration with organizations that are addressing gun violence in its many forms across the United States. Grant partners include:

  • The Ad Council — To scale the End Family Fire campaign, which promotes safe gun storage in order to prevent shootings involving unsecured or misused firearms
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) — To develop materials on evidence-based public health approaches to gun violence and suicide prevention, as well as to plan a national summit and develop collateral materials for broad use
  • Big Cities Health Coalition — For public education on public health approaches to gun violence prevention
  • Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (The HAVI) — To convene researchers and experts to study the effectiveness of hospital violence intervention programs (HVIPs) and their ability to break and prevent the cyclical nature of gun violence
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health — To support the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, including efforts to study the implementation of extreme risk protective orders and the role clinicians can play in raising awareness of these measures
  • National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) — To provide core support for NICJR violence reduction initiatives in states impacted by increased rates of gun violence
  • RAND Corporation — To support the 2022 National Research Conference on Firearm Injury Prevention, including dissemination of emerging research that focuses on gun violence prevention through care delivery innovation
  • University of California, Davis — To provide core support for the Violence Prevention Research Program
  • University of California, San Diego — To support the Center on Gender Equity and Health, including support for its “California Study on Violence Experiences Across the Lifespan” and related dissemination activities

“Through safe gun storage, we have the power to protect our loved ones from preventable tragedies,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We applaud Kaiser Permanente for bringing organizations together so we can collectively reduce gun violence at scale. This funding will help us expand the reach of the End Family Fire campaign and continue to prevent the needless and tragic loss of lives due to unsecured firearms.”

“Congratulations to Kaiser Permanente on the establishment of their Center for Gun Violence Research and Education. We’re very grateful for their support and looking forward to expanding our research and education efforts,” said Garen Wintemute, MD, director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program. Dr. Wintemute is a professor of emergency medicine at UC Davis Health and a renowned expert on the public health crisis of gun violence.

The Center for Gun Violence Research and Education is building on Kaiser Permanente’s pioneering work on gun violence as a public health issue, which began in 2018 with the formation of the Task Force on Firearm Injury Prevention and an accompanying $2 million in research funding to study clinical interventions to prevent gun injuries and deaths. The resulting research is examining the efficacy of clinical screening for firearm ownership, safe storage, and suicide prevention. That same year, Kaiser Permanente partnered with the American Hospital Association and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to host a first-of-its-kind workshop to look at the role that health systems can play in addressing firearm injury and death.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.