In 2019, the Massachusetts General Center for Gun Violence Prevention (CGVP) was launched with a mission focusing on clinical care and education, research, and community engagement. It shared the belief of many others that gun violence is an urgent and devastating public health threat. Healthcare workers serve as key disseminators of safety information to the community. Early data showed that most providers reported having no prior exposure to gun violence prevention education. This preliminary data demonstrated that knowledge about available resources, awareness about relevant laws, and comfort in discussing access to guns and gun safety increased dramatically among our trainees and study participants post-training. Amid the national crisis around school shootings, there is increasing demand for partnerships with gun violence prevention programs and schools. Therefore, expanding this curriculum to schools is a logical next step.
In partnership with Robin Cogan, Rutgers faculty, and the New Jersey Director for the National Association of School Nurses representing the New Jersey State School Nurses Association, this pilot program adapts and distributes the current gun violence prevention curriculum for school nurses and counselors in New Jersey and Massachusetts. There is no existing curriculum for school nurses to develop comfort around gun violence prevention efforts with within the classroom and, by extension in student’s homes. This represents a significant gap in the national approach to gun violence among school aged youth and families. School nurses are essential to maintaining a safe, supportive environment for students. As such, school nurses may be uniquely poised to identify at-risk students and as such should be educated on how to ask about gun presence, gun safety, and the conditions when “red flag” measures should be considered.
Principal Investigator (PI): Cornelia Griggs, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital; Gretchen Felopulos, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital; Robin Cogan MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN, Rutgers University-New Brunswick