training session

First-Of-Its-Kind Program Will Train Health Professionals to Counsel Patients on Gun Violence Prevention

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill awarding millions of dollars in funding to UC Davis, which will teach healthcare providers intervention techniques for patients.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis will work to create the country’s first program designed to help healthcare professionals reduce firearm-related injury and death among patients. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill last week that approved $3.85 million in funding for the program, which aims to educate healthcare providers — particularly physicians, mental health professionals, nurses and health students about how to handle patients deemed at risk of firearm injury. 

Some of those measures could include teaching patients safer gun storage practices, conducting interventions for people experiencing mental health issues and helping them obtain gun violence restraining orders, The Sacramento Bee reported

Dr. Amy Barnhorst, a psychiatrist at the school, will oversee the training after years working on issues of suicide, gun violence and public health. 

“Medical and mental health providers are uniquely positioned to respond to and prevent firearm-related harm,” Barnhorst told the Bee. “Many have asked for more information on when and how to discuss firearms with patients and what to do when patients have access to guns and are at high risk for harming themselves or others.”

The funding will also go toward UC Davis’ research into specific barriers that prevent American society from reducing gun violence threats, The Sacramento Bee reported. The university has concentrated on the issue for years through its Violence Prevention Research Program

Dr. Garen Wintemute, the director of the program, said the new funding will deepen his team’s ability to affect change in this arena. 

“California health professionals are committed to making firearm violence prevention part of their practices, and we are very excited by the opportunity to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need,” he told the Bee. 

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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