UC Davis offers free online course to help clinicians prevent firearm injuries

ByMike V. Cooper

Aug 3, 2022

The course trains health care providers to identify patients at risk and how to intervene based on that risk.

The University of California at Davis offers a free online continuing education course to help clinicians and other healthcare providers prevent firearm injuries.

The training is provided by the BulletPoints Project at UC Davis, a program that teaches clinicians how to discuss gun access risks with their patients and how to intervene when someone is at increased risk.

The course covers how to have conversations with patients who have access to firearms and who may be at risk for interpersonal violence, unintentional injury, suicide or unintentional injury, according to UC Davis. It also teaches clinicians how to intervene based on the type and level of firearm violence risk.

“Clinicians play an important role in shaping public perceptions of safety and injury prevention,” said Amy BarnhorstDirector of the BulletPoints Project and Vice President of Clinical Services at UC Davis Department of Psychiatry.

“In the same way that a medical professional might ask a patient to smoke cigarettes, or a pediatrician might ask about car seats, he might also talk to his patients about firearms. ‘in a non-partisan, non-judgmental manner,’ Barnhorst said.

The online course, Firearm Injury Prevention: What Clinicians Can Dolasts approximately one hour and presents scenarios where a patient may be at risk for gun violence, including suicide, intimate partner violence, mass shootings, and unintentional shootings.

The course guides clinicians through each scenario and provides response resource options, such as safe storage of firearms, temporary transfer of firearms, emergency preparedness orders – also known as “flag laws red” or gun violence prohibition orders – and mental health care, called 5150 .

Clinicians also learn to talk about risks and interventions in a culturally and politically neutral way, according to UC Davis.

In 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the United States, according to Pew Research Center. That same year, 79% of all homicides and 53% of all suicides involved firearms.

“The solution to our epidemic of gun violence is multifaceted and complex, and will require changes in politics, education, health care, school and the media,” Barnhorst said. “The education of health care providers is an important piece of the puzzle.”

Healthcare providers who complete the course can receive one hour of Continuing Medical Education (CME) through the California Medical Association or Continuing Education (CE) credits through the American Psychological Association.

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.