The American College of Physicians (ACP) has released a new position paper expanding upon and strengthening prior ACP policies on firearm violence, reiterating the organization's stance on firearm violence as a public health problem. It includes a reaffirmation that "the medical profession has a special responsibility to speak out on prevention of firearm-related injuries and deaths, just as physicians have spoken out on other public health issues." Click here to read the article.
Welcome to What You Can Do, a resource to support health care providers in reducing firearm injury and death.
Did you know:
- in 2016, an average of 105 people in the U.S. died from firearms each day?1
- mass shootings account for only 1% to 2% of deaths from firearms in the U.S.?2
- many people who are involved in firearm violence have recognizable risk factors, some of which bring them into contact with health care providers before the violence happens?2
What You Can Do (WYCD) highlights the potential of a simple, focused intervention that you, as a health care provider, can implement.
Follow the links below to learn more about firearm violence prevention and provider firearms counseling. Feel free to get in touch by emailing hs-WYCD@ucdavis.edu if you have questions or comments.
The What You Can Do initiative is dynamic and will evolve as we receive feedback from providers. We recommend that you check back here periodically to see what's new from WYCD.
What You Can Do (WYCD) is an initiative bringing together a growing network of health care providers looking for ways to reduce firearm injury and death, with particular emphasis on addressing firearm injury for populations at elevated risk. Though WYCD came to be in response to the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on 1 October 2017, WYCD aims to support prevention of all causes of firearm injury and death, especially interpersonal violence and suicide.
Health care providers have unique opportunities to identify and counsel high-risk individuals. Everyday firearm injury and death are not distributed at random. Well-recognized risk factors both among those who commit and those who sustain firearm injury bring high-risk individuals to health care providers, opening the door for targeted firearm injury prevention efforts.3
Read the commentary and see who has made the commitment to counsel patients on firearms by viewing What You Can Do to Stop Firearm Violence at Annals of Internal Medicine online.
We've made available a presentation on the epidemiology of firearm violence constructed by Dr. Wintemute using Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (CDC WISQARS) data from 1981-2016. It includes various graphic displays of trends in firearm violence in the United States.
View or download the Trends in Firearm Violence in the U.S. presentation slides and notes here and feel free to use them as you see fit.
Becoming knowledgeable about firearm violence is an important first step towards addressing it. If you’re looking for firearm mortality and injury statistics, research on patient attitudes towards firearm counseling, and other facts about firearm violence, click here for more on Firearm Violence as a Public Health Problem.
In order to counsel patients on firearm safety, you may need to study up. Some helpful provider training materials exist, and materials developed for non-provider audiences can also be useful for learning more about firearm safety.
Learn more about risk factors for firearm injury and death.
View recommendations for preparing for firearms counseling, guidance on how to open the conversation and what to ask, and basics on firearm safety.
View, download, and print the What You Can Do educational handouts for patients and providers by clicking the icons below.
We encourage you to send your patients home with the patient handout after you've had a conversation about firearm risk and safety. You can print it single- or double-sided and staple it in the upper left corner.
Use the provider handout to guide you through firearm violence risk assessment and counseling at-risk patients.
A variety of resources exist regarding firearm risk and safety for health care providers and patients.
The WYCD Resources page will direct you to peer-reviewed articles, patient handouts, training materials, videos, and more.
If you're a health care provider, consider making the commitment:
When risk factors for harm to my patients or others are present, I will ask my patients about firearm ownership and safety.
To join your colleagues across the country in committing to counseling at-risk patients on firearms, view the What You Can Do article at the Annals of Internal Medicine website, and click "Make your commitment now."
If you're not a health care provider and want to get more involved, you can view the WYCD Resources page for more information on firearm violence prevention and the role of the health care provider.
What You Can Do is an initiative of the University of California, Davis, Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) and the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center (UCFC).
Rocco Pallin, M.P.H., is the What You Can Do project director and an analyst at VPRP.
Dr. Garen Wintemute is WYCD’s principal investigator. Dr. Wintemute is the Susan P. Baker-Stephen P. Teret Chair in Violence Prevention and professor of emergency medicine at UC Davis. He is also director of VPRP and UCFC.
WYCD thanks Annals of Internal Medicine for its attention to firearm violence and for hosting the What You Can Do commitment.
We are also grateful to the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) Consortium for their generosity in sharing existing materials and resources on prevention of firearm injury and death.
We also thank Cathy Barber, Dr. Rinad Beidas, Dr. Emmy Betz, Jacquelyn Clark, Dr. Megan Ranney, and Dr. Michael Victoroff for their expert contributions to the What You Can Do project.
Our appreciation also goes to the UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest for its partnership in developing the What You Can Do information sheets for patients and providers.