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UW receives $1.5 million CDC grant to study handgun carrying among rural teens

September 30, 2020

Understanding of the culture, scope, and developmental patterns of handgun carrying among youth living in rural communities is surprisingly limited.Kool Cats Photography/Flickr

With approximately 109 people dying each day and many more being treated in emergency rooms from gun-related injuries — which are the second leading cause of death among adolescents — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are , after decades, stepped in to fund critical gun research. .

The CDC announcement on September 23, it would fund 16 studies for a total of more than $7.8 million to understand and prevent gun violence. The University of Washington proposal to study handgun carrying among rural adolescents received a three-year grant totaling approximately $1.5 million.

“These awards were given by the CDC after approximately three decades without direct funding for this area of ​​research. They herald an era in which we will work collectively with a variety of stakeholders to reduce the burden of this major population health challenge in our communities and beyond,” said Dr Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, an associate professor of epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health who is leading the UW study. “This is a historic development and an important milestone for the field of public health in general, and the science of violence and injury prevention in particular.”

The UW study will focus on rural communities where the high levels of gun access and mortality, cultural influences, attitudes and risks associated with carrying handguns by young people are understudied and underserved.

“Handgun carrying is widely recognized as a key risk factor for firearm injury among urban youth, but our knowledge of the culture, scope, and developmental patterns of carrying handguns – as well as its determinants and consequences – among young people living in urban and rural communities is surprisingly limited,” said Rowhani-Rahbar, who is also co-director of the injury and policy research program. to firearms at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. “This new project will build on approximately two decades of basic research conducted by our colleagues at Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington.

The UW study will use existing data and collect new data from rural adolescents to:

  • Identify opportunities and barriers to firearm injury prevention by improving our understanding of the cultural context of handgun carrying among rural adolescents.
  • Determine specific developmental intervention points by characterizing patterns of handgun carrying in rural communities from early adolescence to early adulthood.
  • To examine the individual and social development factors that distinguish patterns of handgun carrying in rural communities from early adolescence to early adulthood.
  • To test the effect of the Communities That Care prevention system on developmental patterns of handgun carrying among adolescents living in rural communities.

“The goal of this project is to fill this knowledge gap and provide actionable evidence to inform strategies that can prevent firearm-related injuries and promote adolescent safety in rural communities,” said Rowhani- Rahbar.

The study will be conducted through a collaboration with researchers from the UW Social Development Research Group, Washington State University, Arizona State University, and Seattle Children’s Research Institute.


For more information, contact Rowhani-Rahbar at [email protected]


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