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Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit

A World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Injuries, Violence and Accident Prevention

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On February 12th, as part of the effort to draw attention to the growing burden of road traffic injuries, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will launch “Global Road Safety: Updates from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” a special issue of Injury. The launch will coincide with a noontime seminar at the Bloomberg School in Baltimore which features panelists from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Road traffic injuries (RTIs) account for nearly 1.24 deaths each year, with an additional 20 to 50 million people injured or disabled. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the rate of RTIs is twice as high as in developed nations. Today, RTIs are the 8th leading cause of death globally, and if no action is taken, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that they will jump to the 5th leading cause by 2030. Moreover, the economic losses associated with road traffic deaths are just as devastating, costing LMICs an estimated $100 billion every year. While these statistics are shocking, the impact of road traffic crashes is often overlooked as a serious disease burden.

The JH-IIRU is dedicated to reducing those rates of road traffic injuries around the world. Led by Dr. Adnan A. Hyder, in 2010, JH-IIRU joined a consortium of six partners, including the WHO, the Global Road Safety Partnership, ASIRT, EMBARQ and the World Bank, to evaluate and implement road safety solutions in ten countries that account for nearly half (48%) of all traffic deaths globally. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program is a five-year undertaking generously funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and dedicated to evaluating and implementing road safety solutions where they are needed most.  

The goal of the Road Safety Program is to save lives by providing evidence for stronger road safety interventions around the world.  It is equally important, however, to increase awareness of the devastating impact of road traffic injuries.  For this reason, JH-IIRU has published its second special issue.  “Global Road Safety: Updates from Ten Low- and Middle-Income Countries.”  This new supplement features 12 scientific papers jointly authored by nearly 50 JH-IIRU colleagues and collaborators from 30 institutions and organizations within the participating countries. The issue presents findings from the ongoing monitoring and evaluation activities in all ten countries, as well as an examination of the trauma component of the program. It highlights the mixed methods approach of data collection and showcases both the successes as well as the challenges of collecting such data in real-world settings.

“These papers are an important step in building the evidence-base on injury control and road safety in LMICs and demonstrates the promise of mixed-methods research in our understanding of what works in many different contexts for both prevention and treatment of RTIs,” said Hyder.

The supplemental issue is also part of the commitment of the partners in the Global Road Safety Program to share knowledge, provide access to progressive results and stimulate further dialogue on road traffic injury prevention and control in developing countries—something Dr. Hyder sees as vitally important.

“The amount of research done on road safety in LMICs is not proportional to the burden of injury in these countries,” said Hyder. “In the most recent Cochrane review on road safety interventions, only 2.5% of the trails utilized were conducted in LMICs. And all only focused on a single intervention—helmet wearing! It is imperative that we shine a spotlight on the under-recognized burden of road traffic injuries.”

While road safety issues have recently begun garnering more attention, much more work is needed. This special issue brings to light the under-recognized burden of road traffic injuries even as it represents important strides in road safety research.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit gratefully acknowledges Bloomberg Philanthropies for their support, as well as that of our in-country collaborators and consortium partners.

For more information on the seminar, click here.

For more information on the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, visit the JH-IIRU website:

To access the special issue, visit the Injury website at

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) is currently working with a consortium of partners on the Road Safety in 10 Countries Project (RS-10), an initiative that aims to improve road safety in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The project, which is funded with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the World Health Organization, is evaluating and implementing road safety solutions where they are needed most.

Dr. Kelly Henning, head of global health programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies, recently visited India, one of the 10 targeted countries, to promote two important programs: The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco and the Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program. The Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program is a five-year, $125 million effort to reverse global deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes. Program partners, including JH-IIRU, are supporting countries like India to strengthen and implement proven solutions through key legislation on motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, drinking and driving, and speed; improving sustainable urban transport; incorporating safety in road infrastructure projects; and, monitoring and evaluating traffic-related deaths, injuries and policy effectiveness.

To read the full article, click here:

To learn more about the Global Road Safety Program, please visit

To learn more about JH-IIRU and the RS-10 Project, click here or contact us at

In September 2011, the Sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged Bloomberg Philanthropies’ donation of US$ 125 million to improve global road safety. This contribution has supported the implementation of a five-year project in 10 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to prevent road traffic injuries, which coincides with the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. The multi-million dollar contribution is considered the largest donation to global road safety by far.The recipients of the donation represent a global consortium on road safety. Since 2009, The Johns Hopkins University International Injuries Research Unit (JH-IIRU) has partnered with five other international institutions: the World Health Organization, the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, the Global Road Safety Commitment, EMBARQ - the World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport, and the Association for Safe International Road Travel. To date JH-IIRU has closely monitored road safety interventions in each RS-10 country and collected several rounds of primary data as regards targeted risk factors: motorcycle helmet use, seatbelt and child restraint use, speeding and drunk driving.

The latest edition of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s magazine examines the “20 great research challenges for the new decade.” Due to increasing attention from world leaders, as well as recent groundbreaking research, international road safety tops the list.

Throughout the article, Dr. Adnan Hyder discusses the International Injury Research Unit’s role in a new large-scale global road safety project funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies. Over the next five years, the project will determine the effectiveness of specific road safety interventions in 10 low and middle-income countries.

Emphasizing the need for strong support and active collaboration from local community leaders at each of the 10 sites, Dr. Hyder stated, “Education alone has not been found to make huge impacts in the absence of specific interventions and law enforcement, so enforcement is key.”

Click here to read the full article.


The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health features "Death on the Road" as one of the 20 great research challenges this decade.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s International Injury Research Unit (IIRU) and Center for Injury Research and Policy today announced that Adnan A. Hyder, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health and director of the IIRU, will lead the School’s effort on Michael Bloomberg’s $125 million Global Road Safety Program. The IIRU will join forces with five partner organizations, including the World Health Organization, to implement and coordinate activities with local governmental and non-governmental organizations in 10 countries to avert injuries and fatalities caused by road traffic crashes.

“This is an excellent opportunity and a superb group of partners to develop and implement strategies for reducing the extraordinary number of preventable traffic-related injuries and fatalities worldwide,” Hyder said.

The new gift is the largest single donation for international road safety to date. All the resources for the five-year program are dedicated outside the United States and will be focused on 10 low- and middle-income countries that have a high burden of road traffic injuries and fatalities, representing almost half (48 percent) of traffic deaths globally. Robert E. Black, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health, welcomes the opportunity for his Department to advance the research on such a burgeoning public health problem. “Dr. Hyder and his team have already made great contributions to this field with very limited resources,” said Black. “The Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program is exactly what’s needed to energize the public health community about a problem that unduly affects developing countries.”

Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School, said he appreciated the significance of Mayor Bloomberg’s investment: “The Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program highlights the toll of over a million preventable global deaths from road traffic injuries, and signifies outstanding leadership in global health philanthropy that has maximum impact.” Andrea Gielen, ScD, ScM, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Bloomberg School, where Hyder is also a core faculty member, added, “We are delighted at this significant investment in global road safety and believe that the entire field of injury prevention and control will benefit from this program.”

Hyder will lead a team from IIRU that will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the activities of the Bloomberg Global Road Safety Program, focusing on health, economic and social measures in the 10 priority countries. They will also develop and conduct a training program in road traffic injury prevention for public health professionals in these countries. The five other partner organizations are the World Health Organization, EMBARQ (World Resources Institute), the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, Global Road Safety Partnership and the Association for Safe International Road Travel.

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