As part of the Center for Community Health Partnership and Research, the Gun Violence Initiative collaborates with several community-academic partners.
Washington University in St. Louis and the United Way of Greater St. Louis formed a joint partnership that aims to provide support and resources to local initiatives that are uniting in their efforts to combat gun violence. The group meets monthly and comprises 100 entities representing education, healthcare, law enforcement, local government, neighborhood groups, and social services.
The St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission (STLVPC) works to reduce violent crime in the region by promoting a coordinated, well-resourced support system and interventions among area governments, institutions and agencies that serve individuals and families most at risk of violent crime.
This national program, also implemented in St. Louis largely due to the efforts of Dr. Laurie Punch from “The T STL“, is designed to help bystanders reduce preventable deaths due to bleeding. Because severe bleeding can result in death in as little as five minutes, bystanders are taught to use tourniquets or hemostatic dressings immediately after a severe injury occurs to help save a life until emergency personnel can arrive.
The St. Louis Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition convenes local Suicide Prevention Champions to invest time and expertise to promote a suicide-safe community. The Institute for Public Health at Washington University is one of the founding members. The coalition’s mission is to foster hope through an engaged community dedicated to preventing suicide in the St. Louis region by serving as a gateway to education, resources and advocacy. The coalition envisions a St. Louis community that is suicide-safe.
Dr. Sean Joe, the Brown School and the Institute for Public Health were instrumental in the formation of the Missouri Suicide Prevention Coalition. The coalition is committed to advancing strategies, considering the evidence, and exploring what can be done collectively to reduce Missouri’s rate of suicides while also being committed to the safe use of firearms. The goal is to help inform families and individuals about the warning signs of suicide and actions they can take to help temporarily keep a loved one in suicidal crisis from access to lethal means.
Led by Dr. Kristen Mueller, Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) is an ongoing quality improvement program in the emergency department of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, which addresses access to firearms and other lethal means by patients at times of suicidal crisis. Using the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s curriculum, this counseling intervention promotes safe storage of firearms, medications and other lethal means.
Participants are offered free gun locks through a partnership between Washington University, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Lock It for Love and Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice. Additionally, participants have improved access to outpatient counseling through a partnership with Provident Behavioral Health.
C.A.L.M. began with funding in part from the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis and the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
The Gun Violence Initiative at the Institute for Public Health continues its collaborative work with the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at the School of Law to examine gun violence as a human rights issue.
In September 2019, the Harris Institute and the Institute for Public Health submitted a joint stakeholder report on gun violence and human rights to the UN Human Rights Council as part of the Third Universal Periodic Review of the U.S. government’s human rights record. The Harris Institute is presenting testimony to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) again in November 2019, in a special hearing in Quito, Ecuador focused on the impact of gun violence on survivors and the family and communities of victims.
The Harris Institute and the School of Law’s Journal of Law and Policy published a special symposium edition on gun violence in fall 2019. This volume contains Professor Leila Sadat and Harris Institute Fellow Madaline George’s article Gun Violence and Human Rights, which provides an overview of the U.S. gun violence crisis, surveys the patchwork of federal and state gun control laws, and considers U.S. obligations to protect its population based on human rights law.
CRIME TRENDS IN ST. LOUIS
A community-academic partnership formed to investigate what programming, funding, and relationships were in place during the early 2000’s that might have contributed to a drop in homicides. Partners included researchers and thought leaders from the St. Louis Mental Health Board; the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and the Institute for Public Health, the Brown School, and the Social System Design Lab at Washington University in St. Louis.
With pilot funding from Institute for Public Health, the team collected crime, funding, and program data, visualized trends and conducted interviews to explore the relationship between crime and funding for violence prevention between 1995 and 2008.
The key takeaways from this project were:
- Leadership is a vital component for sustainable outcomes and real impact
- Willingness to cooperate among and within agencies, and to share responsibility, information and resources, is necessary to achieve results
- Funding that aids collaboration and programs provides the infrastructure for continued collaboration and sustained funding.
The team continues to collaborate to identify evidence-based and data-driven approaches that will help prevent violence in the St. Louis region.