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U-M Launches Firearm Injury Prevention Open Online Course

The Center for Academic Innovation launched a new firearm injury prevention online course recently that is free and publicly accessible, offering the most comprehensive, free, evidence-based online learning opportunity in this field of study to date.

The course, designed and developed by the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens Consortium, in partnership with the U-M Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, lays a broad foundation for understanding the science of pediatric firearm injury prevention. 

FACTS, launched in 2017 with support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, brings together a national, interdisciplinary group of more than 30 researchers, practitioners, firearm owners and other partners to generate new research involving firearm injury prevention among children and teens.

“This online course was developed by researchers and practitioners, and includes presentations from national experts across the fields of medicine, public health, criminology, social work, education and nursing, representing more than 16 institutions,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the co-principal investigator for FACTS, who announced the new new online course during the 2022 National Research Conference on Firearm Injury Prevention in Washington, D.C.

“This has been a tremendous partnership, and if we as a society truly want to address this national crisis, which results in more than 120 deaths per day across the United States, it is critical that we share evidence-based research and knowledge while also training a next generation more broadly beyond our campus walls.”

Featuring more than 35 faculty and leaders from across the United States, representing more than 16 institutions, the Science of Firearm Safety Among Children & Teens course covers a range of firearm injury topics, including firearm-related suicide, unintentional firearm injury, firearm-related community and youth violence, firearm-related intimate partner violence, school and mass shootings, and officer-involved shootings.

Course participants have access to seven modules, from which they can select all or choose individual topics based on their interest so they can become familiar with the epidemiology, prevention strategies and policy efforts related to pediatric firearm injury prevention.

Activities in the course include lectures and interviews from leading researchers, and readings, discussion boards and quizzes. The course also covers existing gaps in research and future directions for expanding the knowledge base of the field.

Faculty partner affiliations include Northwestern University, Columbia University, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, George Washington University, Medical College of Wisconsin, Boston University, University of California-Davis, University of Washington, Northeastern University, Harvard University, Arizona State University, Brown University, University of Colorado and Johns Hopkins University.

“Being able to offer this comprehensive online course is indicative of how this field of research is growing not only here at the University of Michigan, but around the country,” said Marc Zimmerman, co-principal investigator for FACTS and co-director of the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention.

“By sharing our rigorous injury prevention science with the broader public and students across the nation and globe, together we can generate new knowledge and apply innovative solutions that ultimately reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths nationwide.”

The course is designed for multiple fields and levels of training, including students and researchers from public health, medicine, public policy, social work, nursing, criminology, sociology and psychology fields, as well as practitioners, educators and parents.

Interested parties can find more information, including a list of all faculty contributors, and enroll for free on the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention website. For an additional fee, learners can receive a verified certificate of completion.

This story first appeared in The Record on Nov. 29 and is reposted with permission of the author.

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