Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Seattle-Denver Center of Innovation (COIN)


Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

COIN Investigators & Staff

COIN Investigators


Joseph A Simonetti, MD, MPH
Title: Assistant Professor, Clinical Investigator, Program for Injury Prevention, Education & Research; Division of Hospital Medicine, University of Colorado
Location: Denver
University of Colorado webpage
Rocky Mountain MIRECC
Dr. Simonetti is a physician at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center and investigator with the Denver-Seattle COIN and Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention. His research focuses on improving access to high quality care among U.S. veterans and developing patient-centered firearm safety interventions for individuals at risk of suicide. As an educator, he works locally and nationally to support VA and community-based clinicians in delivering evidence-based and culturally competent lethal means safety counseling to at-risk Veterans.
In response to the challenges faced by many of our nation’s veterans stemming in part from their military service, the VA has developed one of the most advanced mental health treatment and suicide prevention systems in the world. Working here gives me the opportunity to work with and and learn from true experts in health services and mental health research.
My hope is that this line of work will contribute to a change in dialogue about the risks of firearm access among veterans and within their households, and for those who are at risk of firearm injury, reduce the barriers and stigma related to adopting protective firearm behaviors.

Research Interests


Dr. Joe Simonetti’s work is to develop Veteran-centered approaches to reduce firearm suicide risk. Firearms are the most lethal method of suicide, resulting in death almost 90% of the time when they are used. Veterans use firearms more often than any other method, about 70% for men and 50% for women.

The focus is mostly on clinical interventions such as identifying those most at risk of suicide and reducing the lethal means used in suicide. In the VA identifying risk is now exploring whether factors in an individual’s medical record can be used identify if a person is at an elevated risk. This model uses artificial intelligence to explore medical records for patterns or hints that might identify a Veteran in need of intervention.

Lethal means safety (LMS) is the identification of ways to harm yourself and creating distance between you and those means. Suicide prevention research understands that creating time and distance between a person and the method of harming themselves saves lives. LMS is the process for creating that time and distance.

Identifying who is most at risk of suicide and lethal means safety are mostly clinical approaches to suicide prevention.

Dr. Simonetti is also creating community partnerships and engaging the community in reducing firearm suicide risk. Suicide is a topic with many myths and one we don’t discuss enough, and talking about firearms can sometimes be challenging. Dr. Simonetti’s work understands we must discuss both if we are going to reduce Veteran suicide risk.

See Dr. Simonetti's Dimensions profile that includes: publications, grants, datasets, patents and clinical trials

Below are projects that have grown out of the work Dr. Simonetti and his collaborators have done:

 Lethal Means Safety & Suicide Prevention
This website created by Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (RMIREC) provides the evidence behind lethal means safety and resources for clinicians, caregivers and policy-makers.
Visit the Lethal Means Safety & Suicide Prevention website
 The Firearm Life Plan
The Firearm Life Plan site, and its associated resources, was developed to help people think about important questions related to their firearms and protect their families from the burden of making difficult decisions without guidance. A Firearm Life Plan is a voluntary, personal plan made between a firearm owner and those they trust.
Visit the The Firearm Life Plan website
Everything you’ll need to make a plan for your firearms that’s right for you and those you trust.
Download the full toolkit
 Injury & Violence Prevention Center
The Injury & Violence Prevention Center is a collaborative initiative of the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. They aim to prevent and reduce injury and its outcomes in Colorado, the region, and throughout the world as a function of high-quality research and effective practice.
Visit the Injury & Violence Prevention Center website
This toolkit provides practical information about voluntary, temporary firearm storage, including the rationale for offering this type of storage and logistics in developing a storage program or a map of storage options.
Download the toolkit

The following images visualize Dr. Simonetti's work. The word cloud is drawn from publication titles. The research collaboration map shows research relationships (click the image to enlarge):

Dr. Simonetti's publication titles indicate his primary work is firearm safety
Word cloud from pub titles
Dr. Simonetti's collaborations are primarily from the University of Colorado
Research collaboration map
The following research fields have been used to summarize Dr. Simonetti's publications and grants. The categories are based on 42 publications and 1 grants.
Publications Grants
Clinical Research Mental Health
Behavioral and Social Science Firearm Safety
Prevention Suicide Prevention
Suicide Clinical Research
Mental Health Comparative Effectiveness Research
Suicide Prevention Prevention
Health Services  
Brain Disorders  
Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects  

Return to Top

Recent Publications




Betz ME, Simonetti JA. Approaches to Prevention of Firearm Violence-Reply. JAMA. 2023 Feb 14;329(6):513-514. doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.21865. PMID: 36786794
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Monteith LL, Miller CN, Polzer E, Holliday R, Hoffmire CA, Iglesias CD, Schneider AL, Brenner LA, Simonetti JA. "Feel the need to prepare for Armageddon even though I do not believe it will happen": Women Veterans' Firearm Beliefs and Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Associations with Military Sexual Assault and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms. PLoS One. 2023 Feb 10;18(2):e0280431. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280431. PMCID: PMC9917279. PMID: 36763646
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Wortzel HS, Simonetti JA, Oslin DW, Hermes E, Matarazzo BB. Lithium Use for Suicide Prevention, Revisited. J Psychiatr Pract. 2023 Jan 1;29(1):51-57. doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000680. PMID: 36649553
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions



Prater LC, Simonetti JA, Knoepke CE, Polzer ER, Nearing KA, Lee T, Betz ME. Older adults and planning for firearm safety: A qualitative study of healthcare providers. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 Dec 22. doi: 10.1111/jgs.18188. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36550590
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Monteith LL, Kinney AR, Holliday R, Miller C, Schneider AL, Hoffmire CA, Simonetti JA, Brenner LA, Forster JE. Associations between deployment experiences, safety-related beliefs, and firearm ownership among women Veterans. J Psychiatr Res. 2022 Nov 14;157:72-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.11.004. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36442409
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Betz ME, Polzer ER, Knoepke CE, Prater LC, Simonetti JA, Lee TM, Meador LE, Nearing KA. Cars, Guns, Aging, and "Giving Up the Keys". Gerontologist. 2022 Nov 16:gnac142. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnac142. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36383376
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Khazanov GK, Keddem S, Hoskins K, Myhre K, Sullivan S, Mitchell E, Holliman BD, Landes SJ, Simonetti J. Stakeholder perceptions of lethal means safety counseling: A qualitative systematic review. Front Psychiatry. 2022 Oct 20;13:993415. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.993415. PMCID: PMC9634731. PMID: 36339871
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Betz ME, Thomas AC, Simonetti JA. Firearms, Suicide, and Approaches for Prevention. JAMA. 2022 Sep 27;328(12):1179-1180. doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.16663. PMID: 36166015
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Simonetti JA, Azrael D, Zhang W, Miller M. Receipt of clinician-delivered firearm safety counseling among U.S. Veterans: Results from a 2019 national survey. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2022 Aug 4. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12906. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35924483
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Oslin DW, Lynch KG, Shih MC, Ingram EP, Wray LO, Chapman SR, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J, Pyne JM, Stone A, DuVall SL, Lehmann LS, Thase ME; PRIME Care Research Group, Aslam M, Batki SL, Bjork JM, Blow FC, Brenner LA, Chen P, Desai S, Dieperink EW, Fears SC, Fuller MA, Goodman CS, Graham DP, Haas GL, Hamner MB, Helstrom AW, Hurley RA, Icardi MS, Jurjus GJ, Kilbourne AM, Kreyenbuhl J, Lache DJ, Lieske SP, Lynch JA, Meyer LJ, Montalvo C, Muralidhar S, Ostacher MJ, Paschall GY, Pfeiffer PN, Prieto S, Przygodzki RM, Ranganathan M, Rodriguez-Suarez MM, Roggenkamp H, Schichman SA, Schneeweis JS, Simonetti JA, Steinhauer SR, Suppes T, Umbert MA, Vassy JL, Voora D, Wiechers IR, Wood AE. Effect of Pharmacogenomic Testing for Drug-Gene Interactions on Medication Selection and Remission of Symptoms in Major Depressive Disorder: The PRIME Care Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2022 Jul 12;328(2):151-161. doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.9805. PMID: 35819423
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Spark TL, Cogan CM, Monteith LL, Simonetti JA. Firearm Lethal Means Counseling Among Women: Clinical and Research Considerations and a Call to Action. Curr Treat Options Psychiatry. 2022 Jun 30:1-11. doi: 10.1007/s40501-022-00273-3. Epub ahead of print. PMCID: PMC9247955. PMID: 35791313
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Wortzel HS, Simonetti JA, Ryan AT, Matarazzo BB. Firearm Injury Prevention and Extreme Risk Protection Orders. J Psychiatr Pract. 2022 May 1;28(3):240-243. doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000631. PMID: 35511101
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Simonetti JA, Azrael D, Zhang W, Miller M. Perspectives on clinician-delivered firearm safety counseling during routine care: Results of a national survey. Prev Med. 2022 Apr 7:107039. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2022.107039. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35398367
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Simonetti JA, Anderson ML. When the messenger affects the message: Trustworthiness in the context of COVID vaccination. J Hosp Med. 2022 Feb 26:10.1002/jhm.12803. doi: 10.1002/jhm.12803. Epub ahead of print. PMCID: PMC9088351. PMID: 35535927
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Dobscha SK, Clark KD, Karras E, Simonetti JA, Newell S, Kenyon EA, Elliott V, Boster J, Gerrity M. Development and Preliminary Evaluation of an Education Program for Primary Care Teams on Discussing Firearms Storage Safety with Veterans. J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2022 Feb 14;9:23821205221077647. doi: 10.1177/23821205221077647. PMCID: PMC8851949. PMID: 35187264
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Leonard C, Kenney RR, Lee M, Greene P, Whittington M, Kirsh S, Ho PM, Sayre G, Simonetti J. Common Ground: Primary Care and Specialty Clinicians' Perceptions of E-Consults in the Veterans Health Administration. Fed Pract. 2022 Jan;39(1):42-47b. doi: 10.12788/fp.0214. Epub 2022 Jan 12. PMCID: PMC8849031. PMID: 35185320
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions



Simonetti JA, Wortzel HS, Matarazzo BB. Therapeutic Risk Management and Firearm-related Lethal Means Safety. J Psychiatr Pract. 2021 Nov 5;27(6):456-465. doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000586.
PMID: 34768269

Clark KD, Newell S, Kenyon EA, Karras E, Simonetti JA, Gerrity M, Dobscha SK. Firearms storage safety discussions in VA primary care: Staff perspectives. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2021 Jul 22;72:96-101. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2021.07.007. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 34416678

Hoyt T, Holliday R, Simonetti JA, Monteith LL. Firearm Lethal Means Safety with Military Personnel and Veterans: Overcoming Barriers using a Collaborative Approach. Prof Psychol Res Pr. 2021 Aug;52(4):387-395. doi: 10.1037/pro0000372. Epub 2021 May 20. PMCID: PMC8375272.
PMID: 34421193

Hoops K, Fahimi J, Khoeur L, Studenmund C, Barber C, Barnhorst A, Betz ME, Crifasi CK, Davis JA, Dewispelaere W, Fisher L, Howard PK, Ketterer A, Marcolini E, Nestadt PS, Rozel J, Simonetti JA, Spitzer S, Victoroff M, Williams BH, Howley L, Ranney ML. Consensus-Driven Priorities for Firearm Injury Education Among Medical Professionals. Acad Med. 2021 Jul 6. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004226. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 34232149

Newell S, Kenyon E, Clark KD, Elliott V, Rynerson A, Gerrity MS, Karras E, Simonetti JA, Dobscha SK. Veterans Are Agreeable to Discussions About Firearms Safety in Primary Care. J Am Board Fam Med. 2021 Mar-Apr;34(2):338-345. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2021.02.200261.
PMID: 33833002

Dobscha SK, Clark KD, Newell S, Kenyon EA, Karras E, Simonetti JA, Gerrity M. Strategies for Discussing Firearms Storage Safety in Primary Care: Veteran Perspectives. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Jan 26. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06412-x. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 33501537

Whittington MD, Ho PM, Kirsh SR, Kenney RR, Todd-Stenberg J, Au DH, Simonetti J. Cost savings associated with electronic specialty consultations. Am J Manag Care. 2021 Jan 1;27(1):e16-e23. doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2021.88579.
PMID: 33471464



Simonetti JA, Clinton WL, Taylor L, Mori A, Fihn SD, Helfrich CD, Nelson K. The impact of survey nonresponse on estimates of healthcare employee burnout. Healthc (Amst). 2020 Sep;8(3):100451. doi: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2020.100451. Epub 2020 Aug 2.
PMID: 32919589

Simonetti JA. Active Shooter Safety Drills and US Students-Should We Take a Step Back?. JAMA Pediatr. 2020 Aug 31. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2592. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 32870260

Simonetti JA, Dorsey Holliman B, Holliday R, Brenner LA, Monteith LL. Correction: Firearm-related experiences and perceptions among United States male veterans: A qualitative interview study. PLoS One. 2020 Apr 2;15(4):e0231493. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0231493. eCollection 2020.PMID:
PMID: 32240267

Monteith LL, Holliday R, Dorsey Holliman BA, Brenner LA, Simonetti JA. Understanding female veterans' experiences and perspectives of firearms. J Clin Psychol. 2020 Sep;76(9):1736-1753. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22952. Epub 2020 Mar 30.
PMID: 32227687

Simonetti JA, Piegari R, Maynard C, Brenner LA, Mori A, Post EP, Nelson K, Trivedi R. Characteristics and Injury Mechanisms of Veteran Primary Care Suicide Decedents with and without Diagnosed Mental Illness. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Mar 26. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-05787-1. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 32219647

Simonetti JA, Dorsey Holliman B, Holiday R, Brenner LA, Monteith LL. Firearm-related experiences and perceptions among United States male veterans: A qualitative interview study. PLoS One. 2020 Mar 10;15(3):e0230135. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230135. eCollection 2020.
PMID: 32155211

Trivedi RB, Post EP, Piegari R, Simonetti J, Boyko EJ, Asch SM, Mori A, Arnow BA, Fihn SD, Nelson KM, Maynard C. Mortality Among Veterans with Major Mental Illnesses Seen in Primary Care: Results of a National Study of Veteran Deaths. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Jan;35(1):112-118. doi: 10.1007/s11606-019-05307-w. Epub 2019 Oct 30. PMCID: PMC6957595.
PMID: 31667746

Return to Top

Grants & Funding


Development and Testing of a Veteran-Centered Lethal Means Safety Suicide Prevention Intervention

NIH website: