The BulletPoints Project

UCFC is beginning development of a comprehensive curriculum to educate health care providers on clinical strategies for reducing firearm injury and death with new support from the State of California.

Health professionals overwhelmingly feel that firearm injury prevention is within the scope of their medical practice. Several major medical professional societies, including the AMA, ACP, AAFP, ACEP, and ACS, have recently published or renewed statements on the medical community’s role in reducing firearm injury. In 2017, the California Medical Association wrote that "expanded education and training are needed to improve clinician familiarity with the benefits and risks of firearm ownership, safety practices, and communication with patients about firearm violence.”

Nonetheless, firearm injury prevention remains largely absent in medical school curricula and other training programs for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers. As a result, providers often feel inadequately knowledgeable about the risk factors for firearm injury and appropriate recommendations to keep patients and their loved ones safe.

About

The new UCFC BulletPoints project will fill this gap by researching, developing, implementing, and evaluating training programs for health care providers to work with patients to prevent firearm-related harm.

Under the leadership of Dr. Amy Barnhorst, an emergency psychiatrist at UC Davis and nationally-known expert in the relationship between firearm violence and mental illness, BulletPoints will engage with key stakeholders—injury prevention experts, clinicians, firearm owners and safety instructors, specialists in health professions education, law enforcement, hospital systems, and researchers—from California and around the country. The evidence-based, specialty-specific, and rigorously evaluated curricula for health care professionals will be responsive to both the needs of providers and the desires of patients.

The BulletPoints training programs will cover:

  • The scope of and recent trends in firearm injury and death
  • Individual and social determinants of risk for firearm injury
  • Prevention strategies for all types of firearm-related harm
  • The role of health care providers in prevention
  • Provider training in firearms, common uses, benefits and risks of ownership, storage practices
  • How to assess patients’ risk for firearm-related harm
  • Best practices for talking with at-risk patients about risk and safety
  • Available tools for providers in acute risk scenarios
  • California firearm policies relevant to health care providers

BulletPoints will equip providers with clinically-relevant knowledge on firearms, their uses, benefits, risks, and safety to make providers comfortable engaging with patients about the risk of firearm access and the importance of firearm safety just as they discuss other household risks. BulletPoints will work with patients, health care providers, and firearm owners to develop appropriate and effective firearm injury prevention strategies when someone’s risk for injury is elevated and access to a firearm further increases the chance of injury or death. 

Assembly Bill 521, sponsored by Assemblymember Marc Berman and signed in October 2019, authorized 3 years of funding for BulletPoints.