With the advent of summer just about a month away, we need to think of ways to protect our communities from the damage that injuries and trauma can inflict on all, especially among children, once they are done with school and out and about all summer long.

The value of prevention research lies in its contribution to the design and implementation of interventions that successfully reduce injuries or ameliorate their consequences. Over the past quarter century, research has contributed in this way to actual reductions in injury mortality rates, most clearly in relation to motor vehicle injuries.1

Additionally, injury research has documented the effectiveness of many interventions (i.e., programs and policies) designed to reduce injury. Research also makes an important contribution when it demonstrates that interventions do not achieve the desired results or have unintended consequences. Such research helps to refine and improve interventions and to enhance the conceptual foundation for prevention.1

A formal scientific approach to injury prevention calls for interventions to be designed, evaluated and then implemented based on a research-driven process of surveillance, hazard identification, risk assessment and analysis, intervention design and evaluation and transfer of successful interventions into widespread practice.1

Globally, about 4.4 million people die from injuries annually. 2 In the U.S., gender-based violence affects at least 33% of women, and 220 Americans die daily from an opioid overdose.2 Injuries and violence are the leading causes of death in the United States for people ages one to 45.3 In addition, in 2019, the cost of injury in the U.S. was $4.2 trillion, according to a report in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The costs include spending on health care, lost work productivity, as well as estimates of cost for lost quality of life and lives lost.4

One of the ways CDC addresses this important public health problem is through research. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control funds nine Injury Control Research Centers (ICRCs). They study interdisciplinary ways (involving two or more academic, scientific or artistic disciplines) to prevent injuries and violence and work with community partners to put findings into action. They conduct cutting-edge research by including professionals from many different specialties to look at the causes, outcomes and prevention of violence and injuries. This approach brings diverse perspectives and helps identify unique and innovative solutions.4

Research topics include:
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Intimate partner & sexual violence
  • Transportation safety
  • Older adult falls
  • Opioid overdose
  • Suicide
  • Traumatic brain injuries4
ICRCs collaborate with states and communities to put research into action with real-world solutions to keep people safe, healthy and productive. They provide support and consulting to translate research findings into actionable information. Their assistance and expertise help to carry out injury prevention strategies based on scientific evidence. ICRCs also train the next generation of researchers and public health professionals to advance prevention research, address new problems and increase reach across the nation.4

One of the nine CDC-funded ICRCs is at Columbia University, and their research was essential in informing New York State’s implementation of a rear seat belt law to reduce injuries and deaths of unbelted motor vehicle occupants.4

Separately, but also on a national level, the UC Irvine Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention Research (CTIPR), established in 2004, has a steadfast commitment to mitigating the impact of traumatic injuries.2 Their journey towards this objective encompasses:
  • Engaging in comprehensive, interdisciplinary research.
  • Effectively translating research findings into actionable policies and practices.
  • Serving as an invaluable resource at both regional and national levels.
  • Fostering strong, collaborative partnerships with various communities. 2
The center’s team is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals in epidemiology, traffic safety, program development, health policy and public health.2

On a global level, an example is the Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center, and led by Columbia University. It is designed to facilitate capacity-building by providing in-depth training in research design and methods, and stimulate interest in and foster expertise in suicide, trauma and injury prevention. 5

One last group to mention is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which has a Traumatic Injury Prevention Program (TIP) that aims to reduce and prevent work-related injury and death, across all industries, due to acute trauma or violence. To do this, they work closely with partners from industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, other government agencies and academia. 6

Their partnerships and research enable them to address the human and economic burden imposed by the leading causes of work-related traumatic injuries, especially among disproportionately affected occupations and workers, including high risk jobs, racial and ethnic minorities, young and older workers and those in non-standard arrangements, such as temporary workers. 6

There is much to do in the field of injury prevention, and there is no one more qualified than Preventive Medicine physicians to conduct the training, doing the research and putting into widespread practice the successful interventions that are derived from the research conducted in this field!

Mirza I. Rahman, MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACPM
ACPM President

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK230581/
  2. https://ctipr.uci.edu/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/health-econ-cost-of-injury/index.html#:~:text=The%202019%20cost%20of%20injury,of%20life%20and%20lives%20lost.
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/injury-control-research-centers/index.html#print
  5. https://guyana-well-being.org/gritt/
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/ti/default.html
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