The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is funding research about non-fatal firearm injury for the first time in nearly 25 years. A recent NPR story describes why firearm injury research has been neglected for so long. As described in the news story, political pressure from gun lobbyists in the 1990s contributed to Congress severely limiting federal funding for firearm research until recently.

Now, the CDC has funded ten states to conduct non-fatal firearm injury surveillance, including North Carolina. In North Carolina, the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, the UNC Carolina Center for Health Informatics, and Injury Prevention Research Center are working together on a project known as North Carolina Firearm-Related Injury Surveillance Through Emergency Rooms (NC-FASTER).

NC-FASTER aims to increase the timeliness of aggregate reporting on non-fatal firearm-related injury using NC syndromic surveillance emergency department (ED) visit data. It will disseminate surveillance findings to the CDC and key partners across NC working on firearm-related injury prevention and response. State and local partners will receive timely, geographically specific data reports about NC ED visits for non-fatal firearm-related injuries in their regions.

This project will lead to more timely and complete information about trends in NC ED visits for non-fatal firearm-related injuries, which can be used to inform statewide and local firearm-related injury prevention and response efforts in ways that may not be possible with fatal firearm injury data alone.

For more information about NC FASTER, please contact the Principal Investigator, Anna Waller, at anna_waller@med.unc.edu or the Project Manager, Siarra Scott, at siscott@email.unc.edu.