Marian Betz, M.D., M.P.H.

Marian Betz, M.D., M.P.H.

Marian Betz, M.D., M.P.H., University of Colorado, Denver

Young Investigator Grant (2011): $85,000

Mentor: Matthew Miller, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D., Harvard School of Public Health

Lethal Means Restriction for Suicide Prevention: Beliefs and Behaviors of Emergency Department Providers


Bio: Dr. Betz received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2005 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. In addition to her Young Investigator Grant from AFSP, she has received grants from the CDC and NIMH.

Grant research area: Emergency department, means restriction.

Abstract: Emergency department (ED) staff often possess attitudes toward suicide that limit their ability or willingness to ask about suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. This Young Investigator Grant tests two hypotheses. The first is that many providers are skeptical that suicide can be prevented. The second is that few staff members ask about access to lethal means, such as firearms, even when they know someone is thinking about suicide or has made a recent suicide attempt. The project also measures whether attitudes change after ED professionals participate in a training program designed to teach them to screen for suicide risk. Finally, ED nurses will be trained to conduct a brief intervention for patients with suicidal behavior that includes asking about access to lethal methods such as firearms. After the training, attitudes and beliefs will be assessed a third time.   

Long-term goals: To encourage better assessment and care of patients in the ED, as well as to facilitate the development of standard suicide assessment training methods for ED professionals.

Click here to read about the findings from Dr. Betz's Young Investigator Grant.