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Pediatric Firearm Injury Prevention Research Underfunded

30-fold increase in firearm injury research needed for funding to correspond with mortality burden

TUESDAY, Oct. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Funding for pediatric firearm injury prevention research is only 3.3 percent of that predicted according to the mortality burden, say the authors of a report published in the October issue of Health Affairs.

Rebecca M. Cunningham, M.D., from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor, and colleagues quantified the federal dollars granted to research for the leading causes of death for U.S. children and adolescents (ages 1 to 18 years) for 2008 to 2017.

The researchers found that on average, $88 million per year was granted to research motor vehicle crashes, which was the leading cause of death in this age group. The third leading cause of mortality was cancer, which received $335 million per year. Research into prevention of the second leading cause of death among children and adolescents — firearm injury — received only $12 million, with 32 grants averaging $597 in research dollars per death. Funding for pediatric firearm injury prevention was only 3.3 percent of that predicted according to the mortality burden based on a regression analysis; that level of funding resulted in fewer scientific articles than predicted. For research funding to be commensurate with the mortality burden, a 30-fold increase in funding on firearm injury research, or at least $37 million per year, is needed.

“To decrease death rates among U.S. children and adolescents, a substantial increase in research funding for firearm injury prevention is required,” the authors write.

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