Development and Implementation of a Novel Case-Based Gun Violence Prevention Training Program for First-Year Residents

Acad Med. 2022 Oct 1;97(10):1479-1483. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004656. Epub 2022 Mar 29.


Problem: Gun violence results in approximately 40,000 deaths in the United States each year, yet physicians rarely discuss gun access and firearm safety with patients. Lack of education about how to have these conversations is an important barrier, particularly among trainees.

Approach: A 2-part training curriculum was developed for first-year residents. It included (1) a didactic presentation outlining a framework to understand types of firearm-related violence, describing institutional resources, and reviewing strategies for approaching discussions about firearms with patients, and (2) interactive case scenarios, adjusted for clinical disciplines, with standardized patients. Before and after the training, participants completed surveys on the training's relevance, efficacy, and benefit. Standardized patients provided real-time feedback to participants and completed assessments based on prespecified learning objectives.

Outcomes: In June-August 2019, 148 first-year residents in internal medicine (n = 74), general surgery (n = 12), emergency medicine (n = 15), pediatrics (n = 22), psychiatry (n = 16), and OB/GYN (n = 9) completed the training. Most (70%, n = 104) reported having no prior exposure to gun violence prevention education. Knowledge about available resources increased among participants from 3% (n = 5) pretraining to 97% (n = 143) post-training. Awareness about relevant laws, such as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and their appropriate use increased from 3% (n = 4) pretraining to 98% (n = 145) post-training. Comfort discussing access to guns and gun safety with patients increased from a median of 5 pretraining to 8 post-training (on a scale of 1-10, with higher scores indicating more comfort).

Next steps: Delivery of a case-based gun violence prevention training program was effective and feasible in a single institution. Next steps include expanding the training to other learners (across undergraduate and graduate medical education) and institutions and assessing how the program changes practice over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Firearms*
  • Gun Violence* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Physicians*
  • United States
  • Violence / prevention & control