Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health care provider, is expanding its work to address the causes and health consequences of gun violence with a $25 million commitment to its recently established Center for Gun Violence Research and Education. This move will further enable the center to address the public health crisis of gun violence through care innovation, research, education, and partnership.
Firearms recently became the leading cause of injury and death among children and young adults in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle accidents. The aftermath of gun violence and suicide, and its resulting trauma, has devastating short-term and long-term impacts on the mental and physical health of survivors, making it among the most urgent public health crises facing our country.
“As the leading health care organization serving the health needs of more than 12 million people in America, Kaiser Permanente is compelled to find and implement solutions to gun violence,” said Greg A. Adams, Kaiser Permanente chair and chief executive officer. “While our teams treat the physical wounds, the disabilities, and the psychological aftermath of gun violence on a daily basis, the best possible outcome of our work would be to learn how to prevent gun-related injuries in the first place.”
As part of this investment, Kaiser Permanente is announcing a new partnership with the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention to help coordinate the work of the Center for Gun Violence Research and Education. HAVI, an initiative of Health Resources in Action, is dedicated to fostering hospital-based violence intervention programs, hospital and community collaborations that advance trauma-informed care, and violence intervention and prevention programs.
“HAVI is thrilled to partner with Kaiser Permanente to co-lead the Center for Gun Violence Research and Education,” said Fatimah Loren Dreier, executive director of the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention. “We seek to lead a center that authentically engages institutional and community partners to conduct rigorous science and implement evidence-informed, health-based strategies that effectively address the brutal epidemic of violence. Through this partnership, we will advance a powerful vision for racial equity that centers the wisdom and ingenuity of communities of color.”
Kaiser Permanente’s $25 million commitment will extend over 5 years. It will allow the center to expand and scale its prevention research efforts, innovative public and professional education programs, and evidence-backed community initiatives. This includes hospital-based violence intervention programs, which identify patients at risk of repeated violent injury and link them with hospital- and community-based resources that identify and address the underlying risk factors for violence.
“Kaiser Permanente has already seen the promising results of collaborative, community-based support for gun violence prevention, and we know we can take this work even further,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief health officer at Kaiser Permanente. “We’re excited about the role HAVI will play in connecting Kaiser Permanente’s clinical focus with its deep expertise in community-based violence prevention as we pursue a healthier future.”
Kaiser Permanente’s partnership with HAVI marks the next phase of work for the Center for Gun Violence Research and Education. Both organizations share a strong belief that a robust public health approach is an effective way to address gun violence — and that these efforts can provide a pathway for health care leaders, communities, scientists, public health practitioners, and officials to develop and implement a range of strategies that have been shown to work.