The University of Texas medical branch
has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention to undertake a groundbreaking study aimed at addressing firearm
injury and violence among adolescents and young adults. This rare opportunity,
granted by federal funds, will shed light on firearm-related issues as a
critical public health epidemic.
"This grant represents a
significant opportunity to address firearm injury and violence in a holistic
manner,” said Dr. Jeff Temple, Founding Director of the Center for Violence
Prevention at UTMB. “We are hoping to provide insights that can inform
evidence-based interventions and policy decisions.”
Over the past two decades,
unintentional injuries, suicides, and homicides have remained the top three
leading causes of death among adolescents and emerging adults. Firearms are
intrinsically linked to these forms of mortality. Notably, the study will investigate
the link between firearm involvement in adolescence, whether as victims or
perpetrators, and the predictive connection to firearm injury and violence in
adulthood. The repercussions of firearm injury and violence extend to
individuals, families, and society at large, with an economic burden exceeding
$88 billion over five years.
Recognizing that the roots of
violence often begin early in life, it is imperative that prevention efforts
target various risks and protective factors, considering elements such as
gender, race and ethnicity, life stage, and developmental transitions. The
study aims to illuminate this public health crisis across multiple layers of
social ecology, encompassing individual, relational, community, and societal
In this 3-year grant totaling about
$2 million, the study team will conduct in-depth interviews with known gun
carriers, strengthen measures related to firearm injury and violence, gather
arrest records, and collect data on school, neighborhood, and community levels to
develop a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing firearm violence.
“Our ultimate goal is to
contribute to reducing firearm violence among adolescents and young adults,
leading to safer communities,” said Temple.
Center for Violence Prevention at UTMB is dedicated
to preventing violence through collaboration with academic, public, and
governmental partners, developing evidence-informed prevention and intervention
programs, and making a positive impact on reducing violence in Texas and across
the United States.