Johns Hopkins Medicine Helps Develop Physician Training to Prevent Gun Injuries, Deaths

Johns Hopkins Medicine Newsroom (07/15/21)

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers and collaborators around the country have created a national consensus guideline for training healthcare professionals on preventing gun injuries and fatalities. The guideline is published in Academic Medicine. Johns Hopkins Medicine's Katherine Hoops, MD, MPH, says physicians often are uncomfortable discussing firearms with patients, given the topic's divisive nature. "We set out to change that by being the first to create standards for undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education, so clinicians and educators have a foundation from which they can develop educational programming for their learners," she explains. The authors of the guideline identified six priority categories: a general category with priorities applicable to all forms of gun-related injuries, and five specialized categories (intimate partner violence, peer violence, mass violence, suicide and unintentional injury). Training based on the new criteria should allow clinicians to define fatal/nonfatal gun injury epidemiology; understand firearm access, possession, ownership, transfer and use; and familiarize themselves with basic types of firearms and ammunition. Trainees should also be able to counsel patients about firearm injury prevention. The authors also note the guideline should enable clinicians to characterize the epidemiology of suicide and suicide attempts relating to gun injury and death, and evaluate suicide risk and escalate concerns for at-risk patients.

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