Dr. April Zeoli has joined the Firearm-Safety Among Children & Teens Consortium. The consortium is being funded by a five-million-dollar, five-year grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH). This study marks the largest commitment of funds aimed to reduce firearm injuries that the NIH has provided in twenty years.
In total, the Firearm-Safety Among Children & Teens Consortium (or, more simply known as F.A.C.T.S.) will bring together over twenty researchers from twelve Universities and Health Institutions, including the University of Michigan, Brown University, and Harvard in a collaborative effort to research – and ultimately reduce – firearm related accidents and deaths among minors.
Dr. Zeoli was asked to join the consortium due to her extensive research and knowledge on gun policy. Her focus will be to examine current laws established on various levels (local, state and federal) that are intended to reduce firearm related incidents among minors, and “to learn whether they are having their intended impact.” The study will investigate firearm deaths caused by accidental shootings, intimate partner violence, and suicide among multiple other causes. Researchers hope to begin filling in the void of knowledge caused by a lack of research and funding. Co-Principal Investigator Rebecca Cunningham says “there are not enough researchers, trainees, junior faculty or funding for seed projects in this research area and this is truly a capacity-building grant to jump-start the field of pediatric firearm injury prevention.”
In addition to the collaboration among faculty and medical professionals from various institutions; the consortium will consult with a wide range of stakeholders including: gun owners, outdoor enthusiasts, law enforcement agencies, teacher and parent groups, and firearms safety trainers. Co-Principal Investigator Marc Zimmerman of U of M says he “respects gun ownership as an important part of the cultural fabric of our society in this country,” and is adamant about including a wide array of people, opinions, and political ideologies in the discussion to propose the best solutions.