The science of injury prevention and control requires in-depth study of injuries to identify patterns, risk factors, prevention opportunities and treatment options. Injury research has demonstrated the lifesaving potential of safety products, laws and new approaches to medical care.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified improvements in workplace safety and motor vehicle safety—based in large part on research—as two of the top 10 public health achievements of the twentieth century.
Pioneering injury research has resulted in universally accepted lifesaving practices:
- Seat belts and car seats cut the risk of death by at least 50 percent.
- Bike helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent.
- Smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a house fire by 50 percent.
- Treatment at a trauma center reduces the risk of death by 25 percent.
The Center for Injury Research & Policy conducts innovative research, applying scientific discoveries to solving real-world problems and training future leaders. The Center collaborates with government, nonprofit and business partners to document the incidence and impact of injury, understand its causes, identify effective interventions and promote widespread dissemination of evidence-based policies and programs.The training of injury prevention researchers and practitioners is also a high priority and fully integrated into Center activities.
The Center applies the following cross-cutting principles in all of its work:
The Center embraces a public health approach to injury control, which moves from surveillance and identification of risk factors to developing and testing interventions, followed by facilitating and assuring the widespread adoption of effective programs and policies. This framework is used to organize and prioritize Center activities, through a continuous cycle of science informing practice, and practice questioning science.
From primary prevention to acute care and rehabilitation, the Center addresses all three of these phases of injury control. Prevention efforts focus on identifying risk factors and prevention strategies , while acute care and rehabilitation research seeks to identify immediate and long-term treatments that optimize recovery. Center research examines unintentional or accidental injuries as well as intentional or violent injuries. The work of the Center spans issues affecting infants to older adults and those living here or abroad.
The Center brings together experts in the fields of epidemiology and biostatistics; social and behavioral sciences; law and criminal justice; engineering and design; health services research; health and public policy; health education and communication; economics; and nursing and medicine. This multidisciplinary approach provides unique yet complementary perspectives for understanding problems and developing effective interventions.
An essential ingredient to the continued success of the Center's efforts in reducing injury and its impact on society is the quality education of research scientists and public health practitioners. The Center offers 10 graduate-level public health courses in injury prevention and control, an annual weeklong Summer Institute on injury prevention, and other courses and workshops.