AFFIRM Research Summit 2019
AFFIRM Research Summit: What We’ve Accomplished and Our Plan for the Future
We recently wrapped up our 2nd annual AFFIRM Research Summit in Chicago with the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma. During the event, we shared the progress that was made last year with more than 50 thought leaders.
“While mass shootings grab more headlines, smaller-scale acts of violence using firearms happen every single day,” explains Nikita K. Joshi, MD, an emergency physician and member of AFFIRM’s board of directors. “As healthcare providers, we are uniquely positioned to solve this public health problem at its root, thanks to the support of our donors.”
Here’s a look back at what we accomplished in 2019, and a look forward to our goals for 2020—and beyond.
Funding Gun Violence Research
We have made progress! Previously, there had been no significant federal research dollars earmarked to study gun violence since 1996, but in December 2019, a $25 million bill was passed by Congress. While that is progress, it’s not nearly enough to stop this epidemic. So, it’s up to us to fund—and fuel—the quest for answers. To gather data, we awarded three research grants in 2019:
- Firearm Injuries and Recidivism at St. Louis Level I Trauma Hospitals – To be conducted in partnership with Washington University in St. Louis, this study will estimate the region-wide characteristics of patients with firearm injuries and identify at-risk patients through predictive modeling
- Rural Emergency Department Firearm Assessment, Screening, and Treatment (FAST) Trial – To be conducted with Emory University School of Medicine, this project will develop effective screening tools and tailored interventions for at-risk patients in rural emergency departments
- Development of a Consensus-Driven Educational Curriculum on Firearm Injury – A partnership with University of California, San Francisco, and Johns Hopkins Medicine, this project will bring together a multidisciplinary group of national experts on firearm injuries to develop appropriate medical education for healthcare providers
AFFIRM Research is co-funding three additional grants in 2020.
We also launched the Dr. Tamara O’Neal Memorial Research Fund, which will support studies that examine gun violence and intimate partner violence, particularly as they affect people of color. The goals of the fund are to better understand the warning signs of abuse and to develop evidence-based methods to prevent it.
Building a Community with a Shared Vision
In 2019, we also welcomed several new partner organizations to our network. Now 24 partners strong, AFFIRM Research’s goals are supported by the premier medical organizations that comprise our country’s healthcare safety net. Organizations like the American Medical Association (AMA), American College of Physicians (ACP), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) all have pledged to #StandAFFIRM with us.
To reach grassroots-level thought leaders, our innovative Reframe event in Pittsfield, Mass., in December, brought together physicians, nurses, citizens, law enforcement officers, teachers, social workers, and suicide prevention experts to brainstorm solutions for reducing gun violence in our communities. Attendees shared what’s working in suicide prevention, the challenges that remain, and what we can do to overcome them. An action group was formed to continue this vital work and additional Reframe events are planned for 2020.
To continue to propel our work forward, we welcomed Ronald Stewart, MD, FACS, who serves on the board of the American College of Surgeons, to our board of directors, and Doug Younger, MBA, former director of global marketing for Ekso Bionics and Siemens, as Executive Director..
Logging more than 8,000 volunteer hours in 2019, our team worked tirelessly to spread our message. Media wins last year included segments on CBS Sunday Morning and Democracy Now!, a TEDx Talk, and print coverage in Harvard Business Review. And, by leveraging the power of social media, we’ve been able to amplify that message to more than 50,000 people across the country—and across the globe.
Engaging the Donors Dedicated to Our Mission
AFFIRM Research asked donors to share why preventing gun violence is important to them. In 2019, we shared 16 personal reflections about why our donors are committed to fighting this fight.
Help Us Continue Our Progress
During the summit, we unveiled our initiative to reduce firearm injuries by 50 percent by 2025. To do this, we’re removing the barriers to solving the gun violence epidemic by investing our own time and money. With more, we can do more. Let’s keep moving the needle forward.