A Case for Risk Stratification in Survivors of Firearm and Interpersonal Violence in the Urban Environment

Walker, GN.

The emergency department (ED) serves as the main source of care for patients who are victims of interpersonal violence. As a result, emergency physicians across the nation are at the forefront of delivering care and determining dispositions for many at-risk patients in a dynamic healthcare environment. In the majority of cases, survivors of interpersonal violence are treated and discharged based on the physical implications of the injury without consideration for risk of reinjury and the structural drivers that may be at play. Some exceptions may exist at institutions with hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs). At these institutions, disposition decisions often include consideration of a patient’s risk for repeat exposure to violence. Ideally, HVIP services would be available to all survivors of interpersonal violence, but a variety of current constraints limit availability. Here we offer a scoping review of HVIPs and our perspective on how risk-stratification could help emergency physicians determine which patients will benefit most from HVIP services and potentially reduce re-injury secondary to interpersonal violence.

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Assessing Violence Risk in Adolescents in the Pediatric Emergency Department: Systematic Review and Clinical Guidance

Mroczkowski, MM.

Violence risk assessment is one of the most frequent reasons for child and adolescent psychiatry consultation with adolescents in the pediatric emergency department (ED). Here we provide a systematic review of risk factors for violence in adolescents using the risk factor categories from the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment study. Further, we provide clinical guidance for assessing adolescent violence risk in the pediatric ED.

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Documentation of Screening for Firearm Access by Healthcare Providers in the Veterans Healthcare System: A Retrospective Study

Brandt, CA.

Presence of a firearm is associated with increased risk of violence and suicide. United States military veterans are at disproportionate risk of suicide. Routine healthcare provider screening of firearm access may prompt counseling on safe storage and handling of firearms. The objective of this study was to determine the frequency with which Veterans Health Administration (VHA) healthcare providers document firearm access in electronic health record (EHR) clinical notes, and whether this varied by patient characteristics.

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Self-Inflicted Gun Shot Wounds: A Retrospective, Observational Study of U.S. Trauma Centers

Quenzer, F.

Intentional self-harm (suicide) by firearms is a growing problem in the United States. Currently, there are no large studies that have identified risk factors for patients who die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Our objectives are to 1) identify risk factors for patients with the highest morbidity and mortality from self-inflicted gunshot wounds (SIGSWs) at trauma centers 2) present the outcomes of victims of SIGSW by handguns (HG) versus all other specified guns (AOG) and 3) compare the presentations and outcomes of victims with head or face (HF) injuries to other regions of the body.

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The Power of an Active Shooter Simulation: Changing Ethical Beliefs

Janairo, MP.

During a hospital-based active shooter (AS) event, clinicians may be forced to choose between saving themselves or their patients. The Hartford Consensus survey of clinicians and the public demonstrated mixed feelings on the role of doctors and nurses in these situations. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of simulation on ethical dilemmas during a hospital-based AS simulation. The objective was to determine whether a hospital-based AS event simulation and debrief would impact the ethical beliefs of emergency physicians relating to personal duty and risk.

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Firearm Exposure and Storage Practices in the Homes of Rural Adolescents

Jennissen, CA.

Rural areas have higher rates of firearm-related unintentional and suicide deaths. Having access to a firearm greatly increases suicide risk. Safe firearm storage can be a major factor in preventing these tragedies. In this study we evaluated firearm exposure and storage practices in rural adolescents’ homes.

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Gun Violence and Firearm Injuries in West Michigan: Targeting Prevention

Mattson, CM.

Firearm-related deaths and injuries are ongoing public health issues in the United States. We reviewed a series of gun violence- and firearm-related injuries treated at a multi-campus community healthcare system in West Michigan to better understand the demographic and clinical characteristics of these injuries. We also studied hospital charges, and payers responsible, in an effort to identify stakeholders and opportunities for community- and hospital-based prevention.

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Patient Characteristics and Perspectives of Firearm Safety Discussions in the Emergency Department

Hudak, L.

Firearm injury prevention discussions with emergency department (ED) patients provide a unique opportunity to prevent death and injury in high-risk patient groups. Building mutual understanding of safe firearm practices between patients and providers will aid the development of effective interventions. Examining ED patient baseline characteristics, perspectives on healthcare-based safety discussions, and experience with and access to firearms, will allow practitioners to craft more effective messaging and interventions.

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Firearms Injury Prevention, Emergency Medicine, and the Public’s Health: A Call for Unity of Purpose

Kraus, CK.

We enthusiastically present the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine (WestJEM) Special Issue on Firearms Injury Prevention. This project is the culmination of several years of discussions, deliberations, and evaluations of peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Critics might call an issue of WestJEM focused on firearms-related injury and death as politically motivated or skewed. This issue of WestJEM is not intended to litigate gun laws or regulations. It is not meant to further divide strongly held views on the topic with blanket proposals for or against legislative or regulatory approaches. While necessary, the spirited discussions of legislative and regulatory measures are beyond the scope of this special issue. On the contrary, we offer a collection of peer-reviewed research, editorials, and perspectives to engage emergency physicians in productive discussions toward practical solutions to reduce firearms-related morbidity and mortality. Papers in this issue provide regional and national perspectives on firearms-related injuries, thought-provoking perspectives on firearms, descriptions of injury patterns and characteristics, and injury prevention and risk reduction strategies such as safe storage. As the editors of this special issue, we hope these papers will move the discussion forward with evidence and expert consensus.

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California ACEP Firearm Injury Prevention Policy

Fernandez, J.

Firearm-related deaths and injuries are a serious public health problem in California and the United States. The rate of firearm-related deaths is many times higher in the US than other democratic, industrialized nations, yet many of the deaths and injuries are preventable. The California American College of Emergency Physicians Firearm Injury Prevention Policy was approved and adopted in 2013 as an evidence-based, apolitical statement to promote harm reduction. It recognizes and frames firearm injuries as a public health epidemic requiring allocation of robust resources, including increased governmental funding of high-quality research and the development of a national database system. The policy further calls for relevant legislation to be informed by best evidence and expert consensus, and advocates for legislation regarding the following: mandatory universal background checks; mandatory reporting of firearm loss/theft; restrictions against law-enforcement or military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines; child-protective safety and storage systems; and prohibitions for high-risk individuals. It also strongly defends the right of physicians to screen and counsel patients about firearm-related risk factors and safety. Based upon best-available evidenced, the policy was recently updated to include extreme risk protection orders, which are also known as gun violence restraining orders.

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Emergency Physician Survey on Firearm Injury Prevention: Where Can We Improve?

Farcy, DA.

Firearm injury and death is increasingly prevalent in the United States. Emergency physicians (EP) may have a unique role in firearm injury prevention. The aim of this study was to describe EPs’ beliefs, attitudes, practices, and barriers to identifying risk of and counseling on firearm injury prevention with patients. A secondary aim was assessment of perceived personal vulnerability to firearm injury while working in the emergency department (ED).

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Sexualized and Dangerous Relationships: Listening to the Voices of Low-Income African American Girls Placed at Risk for Sexual Exploitation

Introduction: The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a multibillion-dollar industry victimizing over 1 million children around the globe. The typical victim in 1 city in the southeastern United States is an African American girl 12–14 years old. There has been little research investigating the characteristics of girls placed at risk for CSEC and even less research on the personal perspectives of these girls.

Conclusion: Our research shows how girls placed at risk for CSEC view their own lives. These children described violence and sexual exploitation and cited limited supports to protect them from these risks. Understanding the perspectives of these girls should generate future research and intervention strategies to support their coping and resilience.

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Who Sends the Email? Using Electronic Surveys in Violence Research

Introduction: The purpose of this analysis is to describe the response rates from three violence-focused research studies when the recruitment emails are sent from a campus office, researcher or survey sampling firm.

Conclusion: The sender of recruitment emails for electronic surveys may be an important factor in response rates for violence-focused research. For researchers identification of best practices for survey methodology is needed to promote accurate disclosure and increase response rates.

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Gay and Bisexual Men’s Perceptions of Police Helpfulness in Response to Male-Male Intimate Partner Violence

Introduction Despite several recent studies documenting high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) among gay and bisexual men (GBM), the literature is silent regarding GBM’s perceptions of IPV within their community. We examine GBM’s perceptions of same-sex IPV: its commonness, its severity, and the helpfulness of a hypothetical police response to a GBM experiencing IPV.

Conclusion: The results support a minority stress hypothesis to understand GBM’s perceptions of police helpfulness in response to IPV. While IPV was viewed as both common and problematic among GBM, their previous experiences of homophobia were correlated with a learned anticipation of rejection and stigma from law enforcement.

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The Economic Burden of Intimate Partner Violence in Ecuador: Setting the Agenda for Future Research and Violence Prevention Policies

Introduction: Given the power of economic data to influence policy making, the goal of this study is to produce the first estimate of the economic impact of IPV in Ecuador and to identify the policy paths in which these estimates would have the greatest impact for Ecuador.

Conclusion: The asymmetry between the economic burden of IPV and the amount of government resources devoted to IPV prevention efforts suggests the need for a greater role to be played by the government and other factors in society in the area of IPV prevention.

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Co-Occurring Physical Fighting and Suicide Attempts among U.S. High School Students: Examining Patterns of Early Alcohol Use Initiation and Current Binge Drinking

Introduction: A growing body of empirical research documents a significant co-occurrence of suicide attempts and interpersonal violence among youth. However, the potential role of early alcohol use initiation and current heavy alcohol use as correlates of this comorbidity has not been examined in a nationally representative sample of high school students.

Conclusion: These findings underscore the importance of both early alcohol use initiation and heavy drinking as statistically significant correlates of comorbid fighting and suicide attempts among youth. While future research is needed to determine the temporal ordering between problem drinking and violent or suicidal behaviors, existing prevention programs may benefit from including components aimed at reducing and delaying alcohol use.

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Sexual Violence Perpetration by Adolescents in Dating versus Same-Sex Peer Relationships: Differences in Associated Risk and Protective Factors

Introduction: Little is known about the risk and protective factors for youth sexual violence (SV) perpetration across different types of relationships. This study examined factors associated with perpetrating SV against a dating partner and a same-sex peer.

Conclusion: Data suggest that programs to prevent SV perpetration for both relationship types should start when students are young, with particular focus on middle school boys. Prevention efforts should have slightly different foci to address these 2 types of SV perpetration.

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An Examination of Bullying in Georgia Schools: Demographic and School Climate Factors Associated with Willingness to Intervene in Bullying Situations

Introduction: The purpose of this study is to examine the associations between demographic characteristics, school climate and psychosocial factors, and willingness to intervene in a bullying situation among middle and high school students in Georgia.

Conclusion: These findings, while preliminary, indicate that girls, students who are white, and students who experience a relatively positive school climate and adaptive psychosocial factors are more likely to report that they would intervene in bullying situations. These findings may guide how bullying is addressed in schools and underscore the importance of safe school climates.

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Dyadic, Partner, and Social Network Influences on Intimate Partner Violence among Male-Male Couples

Introduction: Despite a recent focus on intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM), the male-male couple is largely absent from the IPV literature. Specifically, research on dyadic factors shaping IPV in male-male couples is lacking.

Conclusion: The results point to several unique factors shaping the reporting of IPV within male-male couples and highlight the need for intervention efforts and prevention programs that focus on male couples, a group largely absent from both research and prevention efforts.

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Contact Information

WestJEM/ Department of Emergency Medicine
UC Irvine Health

333 The City Blvd. West, Rt 128-01
Suite 640
Orange, CA 92868, USA
Phone: 1-714-456-6389


ISSN: 1936-900X
e-ISSN: 1936-9018

ISSN: 2474-252X

Our Philosophy

Emergency Medicine is a specialty which closely reflects societal challenges and consequences of public policy decisions. The emergency department specifically deals with social injustice, health and economic disparities, violence, substance abuse, and disaster preparedness and response. This journal focuses on how emergency care affects the health of the community and population, and conversely, how these societal challenges affect the composition of the patient population who seek care in the emergency department. The development of better systems to provide emergency care, including technology solutions, is critical to enhancing population health.