Accelerate Health Equity funds four hospital-based gun violence prevention research projects across Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 9, 2023 -- Accelerate Health Equity (AHE) awarded four grants to Philadelphia-based health systems as part of its inaugural grants program to support innovative projects focused on the efficacy, outcomes, and scalability of health-system interventions to prevent gun violence.

Over $350,000 was awarded to researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Jefferson Health, Penn Medicine, and Temple Health to support four one-year-long intervention programs and research projects ranging from secondary data analysis to community education intervention and healthcare provider education intervention.

The AHE Gun Violence Prevention Grants Program, launched in April 2023, was made available to researchers at health systems affiliated with AHE — including the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Drexel University, Jefferson Health, Main Line Health, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Temple Health, and Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic.

Grant recipients will report quarterly updates to AHE, including progress updates and a year-end final report to the AHE Steering Committee. Written final reports will be submitted to the AHE Grant Committee within three months of the project cycle completion. After the conclusion of the one-year grant cycle, AHE will meet with teams to provide guidance and support for potentially scaling successful projects in order to broaden the impact of the work.

"Accelerate Health Equity believes gun violence is a pressing health equity issue in our city — research in this area is critical, yet underfunded. Our goal is to help bolster gun violence research in health systems to help us better understand what interventions work, with a goal to scale them for maximum city-wide impact," said Dr. Meghan Lane-Fall, Faculty Director of Accelerator Health Equity.

Learn more about the grant recipients and their proposed research:


Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
Neighborhood Contextual Factors Supporting Recovery After Violence

Since 2020, over 20% of CHOP's Violence Intervention Program (VIP) clients have entered the program due to firearm injuries, a substantial increase from prior years. Programs like this one — known as HVIPs — are embedded within healthcare institutions and provide individual, community-focused case management to support recovery. However, there is a pressing need to understand how socioecological factors influence injury risk and recovery and to enable evidence-informed service delivery and advocacy.

This research project aims to identify data reflecting neighborhood-level resources and examine their association with pediatric violent injury and recovery among young people and families who receive care from the CHOP VIP. A greater understanding of the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and resources and recovery after violence may help guide HVIP services and allow programs to anticipate client needs to tailor post-injury care based on neighborhood resources, which may in turn increase client engagement, acceptability, and satisfaction.

"This award allows us to continue our research efforts to understand how to best support violently injured youth and their families recover from violence, specifically because of the award's focus on equity. We know that where our patients and families live influences not only their risk of injury but also the ease with which they are able to access the services integral to their health and well-being. With this award, we are excited about the opportunity to build evidence that helps us understand the outcomes our patients and families experience."

-  Rachel Myers, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Co-Director, Community Violence and Trauma Support Programs, Center for Violence Prevention, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Jefferson Health
SHIELD-UP: Screening for Home Gun Inventory - Education and Lock Distribution in Urban Philadelphia

Gun locks are an inexpensive and effective method of improving firearm storage safety to reduce injury — however, there is little evidence about the use of safe storage after gun lock distribution among urban populations. Utilizing a mobile screening van, the Jefferson Health team will develop, implement, and evaluate a safe gun storage initiative in which gun locks and safe gun ownership educational materials are distributed to communities in the Greater Philadelphia region upon completion of a prostate screening. The goal of this research project is to understand if a mobile cancer screening van is an effective method of distributing firearm safe storage devices.

"The mobile van cancer screening program of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center reaches across Philadelphia and its surrounding counties as well as South Jersey. This provides an opportunity to offer gun safety education and free gun lock distribution across the diverse populations served by Jefferson Health. As an 18-hospital health system with 6 million outpatient visits yearly, Jefferson Health is committed to addressing the present gun violence crisis of our region."

-  Stanton B. Miller, MD, MPH, FACS
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery
Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
Clinical Associate Professor of Population Health
Executive Director, Jefferson Center for Injury Research and Prevention (JCIRP)


Penn Medicine
Gunshot Prevention Through Secure Firearm Storage Devices and Interventions 

Every year, hundreds of gun deaths in the United States are determined to be accidental or preventable, with many of them being children. In an effort to address this, Penn Medicine will use AHE's funding to back efforts at providing secure firearm storage information and devices to reduce the chance that they will be misused or accessed by the wrong person.   

"As a trauma surgeon, the role of the health system in addressing harm from firearm violence is obvious — we provide the most advanced medical care possible to help injured people survive and heal from a shooting. We also potentially have a unique opportunity to help prevent these injuries in the first place."

-  Elinore J. Kaufman, MD, MSHP
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care, and Emergency Surgery, University of Pennsylvania


Temple Health
Using Human-Centered Design to Develop and Implement a Hospital Trauma-Informed Care Education Program to Improve Care for Firearm-Injured People

Temple University Hospital (TUH) treats the largest number of firearm-injured people in Pennsylvania. Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach that recognizes the widespread nature of trauma and seeks to mitigate its negative impacts, and is recommended as a key part of patient-centered comprehensive care for firearm-injured people.

Through AHE's funding, the Temple Health team will conduct focus groups and workshops to develop and pilot a TIC education program aimed at equipping healthcare team members with the skills needed to recognize and respond effectively to trauma's manifestations and resist patient re-traumatization.

"Firearm injury prevention is a core mission of the Temple University Health System. From founding one of the first HVIPs in the country to being on the forefront of research identifying the root causes and solutions for community firearm violence, Temple is a leader in firearm injury prevention. With this generous support from AHE, we hope to develop a training program for trauma-informed care and in turn, build a more trauma-informed health system that centers the needs of our firearm-injured patients."

-  Jessica H. Beard, MD, MPH, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow
Director of Research, Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting
Director of Trauma Research, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University



About Accelerate Health Equity

Accelerate Health Equity is a city-wide initiative aimed at addressing health equity and racism, and advancing health through a unified approach. Our mission is to fight racism within health care by supporting and evaluating evidence-based interventions to address racism and improve the health of Black Philadelphians. This initiative builds on a large number of equity-directed efforts that have been ongoing in the city and brings together a diverse group of key stakeholders representing health systems, payors, and community organizations to work collaboratively to improve health outcomes.

Accelerate Health Equity Gun Violence Prevention Grants Program