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Reducing Firearm Deaths in Children with Hooman Azad

A new Boston Children's Hospital and Northwestern Medicine study published in JAMA Pediatrics has revealed that more stringent negligence laws, which hold adults responsible for safe storage of firearms, may have potential to reduce firearm fatalities in children. Hooman Azad, a third-year medical student at Feinberg and first author of the study, explains.


Hooman Azad

"Of the 13,000 kids who died from firearms in this study period, 3,929 of those deaths could be attributed to the absence of one of these firearm laws. I think that's a really striking number."

—  Hooman Azad

  • Third-Year Medical Student, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine 

Episode Notes

As part of his training as a third-year Feinberg medical student also pursuing a Master of Public Health, Hooman Azad was encouraged by professor Karen Sheehan, MD, to conduct a research project about a current public health problem.

He quickly landed on the topic of pediatric firearm deaths and decided to analyze whether child access prevention (CAP) laws helped to reduce these deaths. CAP laws impose criminal liability on adults who negligently allow children access to firearms.

"It's critically important that policy is informed by research and by things that we know are true," Azad says of his desire to examine firearm laws and public health issues.

Half of U.S. states currently have CAP laws, but the study only found 16 of them effective. Only four states (Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota and California) have the most stringent form of the laws.

The study found that firearm deaths happen at much higher rates in certain states, and the passage of these laws seems to be associated with reductions in those rates. Here are highlights of the analysis, published March 2, 2020 in JAMA Pediatrics.

  • The strongest form of child access prevention firearm laws could have prevented 3,929 pediatric firearm deaths in children aged 14 years and younger between 1991-2016.
  • That is 29% of firearm deaths in children from 1991-2016 that could be attributed to states not having the most stringent form of child access prevention law.


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Continuing Medical Education Credit

Physicians who listen to this podcast may claim continuing medical education credit after listening to an episode of this program.

Target Audience

Academic/Research, Multiple specialties

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the research interests and initiatives of Feinberg faculty.
  2. Discuss new updates in clinical and translational research.
Accreditation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure Statement

Hooman Azad has nothing to disclose. Course director, Robert Rosa, MD, has nothing to disclose. Planning committee member, Erin Spain, has nothing to disclose. Feinberg School of Medicine's CME Leadership and Staff have nothing to disclose: Clara J. Schroedl, MD, Medical Director of CME, Sheryl Corey, Manager of CME, Allison McCollum, Senior Program Coordinator, and Rhea Alexis Banks, Administrative Assistant 2.

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