There’s a large-scale national conversation happening right now about gun violence and how to prevent it in communities across America, but there’s a huge problem: There’s virtually no public funding going towards researching impacts and solutions surrounding firearm injuries and violence, which in turn affects how leaders, lawmakers, the media, and the general public frame the issue and solve it.
Consider this: The Centers for Disease Control, whose mission is to protect America from health, safety and security threats has no budget for firearm injury research because Congress refuses to appropriate funds.
- Overall, federal spending on firearm injury research is less than 2% of what would be predicted based on the burden of injury. For comparison, its funding is less than 0.8% of that for sepsis, a disease with a similar death toll.
- The number of academic publications about firearm injury research dropped by two-thirds after the Dickey amendment was passed. Only about 40 researchers have completed more than five studies on firearm injury prevention.
- In turn, physicians and other healthcare professionals are in a unique positions to help with firearm injury prevention, but they lack the research-backed education, tools, and resources to do that.
- Only 6 of 72 medically-relevant studies were “high quality,” according to a recent systematic review.
- Only 18% of suicidal patients in the emergency medical departments were asked about access to lethal means (for example, “Are there firearms in your home?”); this is largely because physicians don’t know how to ask and don’t know what to do what they’ve asked.
- When an intervention is delivered in the pediatrician’s office to families, they are more likely to lock up their guns, and when an intervention is delivered in the hospital or the emergency medical department to at-risk youth, they are less likely to get in fights and less likely to carry a weapon.
Because of this research showing an utter lack of research, this is where an organization like AFFIRM steps in.
What We Do
Through private sector partnerships, AFFIRM physicians will fund research that will provide the evidence upon which the medical and allied health professions may develop effective public health solutions for the prevention and treatment of firearm-related victimization, injury and death.
As an organization, AFFIRM has six major goals:
- Raise research funds among diverse private sector financial resources.
- Create infrastructure with expert leadership. We identify and score health and research priorities, and we project proposals to address the highest-ranking health priorities in this field.
- Provide funds to qualified researchers through their respective academic and/or professional medical organizations, and through and open and competitive process.
- Sponsor professional working groups for the development of best practice recommendations, related educational resources, and training curricula with evidence derived from completed research.
- Cooperate with academic and professional medical standards organizations to integrate research evidence into medical education and health practices.
- Conduct quality assurance of completed research and educational materials.
Our Key Values
To achieve these goals, we have several important competencies that guide our work.
Bring together individuals from from all relevant medical stakeholder groups.
AFFIRM is comprised of recognized leaders in medicine with expertise in clinical practice, medical education, research methods and health care administration.
Gain comprehensive, multidisciplinary academic influence from leading medical institutions and professional medical organizations.
AFFIRM’s expert members hold leadership positions within their respective academic medical institutions and professional medical organizations, and they facilitate opportunities for affiliation and collaboration.
Create transparent and standardized methods for clinical decision support.
Through collaborative efforts with professional affiliates, AFFIRM utilizes standardized, evidence-based, and transparent methods for all content-related decisions and products.
Provide timely, relevant, and accessible education and training.
AFFIRM makes resources for education and clinical decision support developed with funds available at the earliest possible date. The organization also distributes materials through all accepted channels of medical education.
Form close partnerships with hospital organizations, nursing, and allied health care providers.
AFFIRM expert members hold leadership positions within their respective medical staffs, hospitals, and health service organizations, thereby facilitating opportunities for education and collaborative care with all members of the patient care team.