Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health system, is investing $2 million in research to prevent gun injuries and death.
This initial research funding demonstrates Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the health of the communities it serves by addressing preventable gun-related injuries and death, whether by suicide, homicide or accident. As part of this effort, Kaiser Permanente has launched the Kaiser Permanente Task Force on Firearm Injury Prevention.
“Going forward, we will study interventions to prevent gun injuries the same way we study cancer, heart disease and other leading causes of preventable death in America,” says Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s chief community health officer and task force co-lead. “The best-in-class preventive and specialized care Kaiser Permanente provides is accomplished, in part, by using rigorous research, without bias, to determine which strategies are effective.”
With a long history of investigating issues of importance to health systems and the nation, Kaiser Permanente is bringing the same expertise and rich data sources to gun-injury research. This clinician-guided research will identify evidence-based tools to guide clinical and community prevention efforts.
In 2016, firearm-related injuries claimed over 30,000 lives in America. Kaiser Permanente delivered or paid for firearm-related care for 4,221 people in 2017 and 2018.
“Our doctors and nurses, along with our safety net partners in the community, are on the front lines, every day, saving the lives of gunshot victims,” says David Grossman, MD, MPH, a nationally recognized leader in gun injury prevention research, Washington Permanente Medical Group and task force co-lead. “Oftentimes, families and communities are left shattered. Our mission, to improve the health of Kaiser Permanente members and the communities we serve, requires us to take preventive action.”
Kaiser Permanente will collaborate with key stakeholders to share findings and disseminate best practices through various channels such as webinars, white papers and peer reviewed publications.
“We will share our insights and provide practical, real-world guidance in clinical and community settings,” notes Elizabeth McGlynn, PhD, vice president for Kaiser Permanente Research, who will lead development of the research initiative with Dr. Grossman. “We plan to make our research results publicly available and hope to serve as a model for addressing and effectively disseminating research findings in communities nationwide. We encourage other private-sector and philanthropic organizations to join us in funding this much needed public health research.”