CDC awards grant for firearms research
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital have received a two-year, $700,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the epidemiology of firearm injuries and deaths and identify trends and risk factors to aid in the development of future prevention efforts.
The grant will allow researchers to review three years of retrospective data on children and adults who were injured or killed by firearms in Harris County. This data will allow them to examine the scope of firearm violence and define risk factors to target future intervention efforts.
“This type of research is important because if we are able to identify which subpopulations are affected, what the context of the incident was and where it occurred, we can develop strategic interventions for decreasing firearms violence at the local level,” said Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, associate professor in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor and a member of the Department of Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Naik-Mathuria, who will lead the research, and colleagues will develop an integrated database that includes fatal and non-fatal firearm injuries from the level 1 trauma centers, the medical examiner’s office and police records in Harris County in order to study personal, social, socioeconomic and environmental variables related to the victims. Currently available national data includes only fatal firearm injuries, and risk factors for non-fatal injuries, which are much more common, are largely unknown.
The comprehensive database will categorize geographic, demographic, temporal, social and socioeconomic risk factors involved in firearm injuries and deaths.
“By understanding the risk factors related to firearm injuries for both adults and children, I hope that this research will inform meaningful interventions to prevent future injuries and decrease firearm violence, not just in Harris County, but at the national level,” said Naik-Mathuria, who serves as trauma medical director at Texas Children’s and is a member of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Commission Against Gun Violence.
Baylor College of Medicine recently released a position statement in support of a public health approach to instituting standards for firearm safety.