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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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The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit has received a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, a prestigious honor awarded to companies and organizations that promote road safety around the world.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent, a leading international advocate of road safety, established the award in 1987 to recognize outstanding innovation and achievement in making the world’s roads safer. Each year, according to the World Health Organization’s Global status report on road safety 2018, there are 1.35 million road traffic deaths worldwide.

Presenting the award HRH Prince Michael of Kent said: ‘“The significant achievements and global reach of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit are truly magnificent.”

Abdul Bachani, PhD, Director, at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, accepted the award from HRH Prince Michael at the annual ceremony held at the Savoy London on December 10. Core faculty Kent Stevens, MD, and Connie Hoe, PhD, attended along with other organizations from across the globe.

“To be recognized for our road safety achievements across initiatives, around the world is a much-deserved honor for our entire team,” says Bachani. “For more than 10 years, we’ve played a leading role in international road safety and on behalf of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, we’re sincerely appreciative of this award.”

Through its role in the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety and other efforts, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit has played a leading role in road safety for more than 10 years and builds on its history of cutting-edge research, innovative capacity development programs, and adaptive practice portfolio to strive for safer roads globally.

In addition to its organizational recognition, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit team received an additional honor at the December 10 event as co-organizers of the Global Road Safety Leadership Course, which also earned a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.

The Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and the Global Road Safety Partnership teams co-lead the twice-annual Global Road Safety Leadership Course, a two-week training program that aims to build leadership capacity to design, implement and advocate for evidence-based road safety programs and policies. The course has trained more than 400 participants from 63 different countries since it was first offered in 2016.

“Working with the Global Road Safety Partnership, we’ve been able to make a real difference across seven offerings both on campus at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and abroad,” says Bachani. “We’re grateful for this partnership and look forward to continuing our work with countless more dedicated road safety champions.”

The Unit’s work, both with BIGRS and GRSLC, is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Since 2010, through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and its partners have monitored, evaluated, and implemented road safety interventions, as well as led critically important capacity development trainings and workshops.

Leadership from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) joined fellow global road safety experts for the Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative’s (CRSI) launch of the Commonwealth Expert Panel Report on Tuesday, December 9, in London. The report aims to put road safety on the agenda of the Commonwealth and includes 10 key, evidence-based recommendations. 

JH-IIRU Director Dr. Abdul Bachani and core faculty Dr. Connie Hoe, and 13 other colleagues composed the panel, which features representation from Canada, Australia, Rwanda, India, Malta, Jamaica, Bangladesh, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom.

“The launch of today’s report is a testament of the hard work conducted by my colleagues on the Commonwealth expert panel,” said Dr. Bachani. “We believe that the recommendations we’ve outlined will allow the region to shift its attitude on the issue of road safety and ultimately strive for zero road traffic fatalities.”

David Ward, President and CEO of the Towards Zero Foundation delivered the opening session of the launch event, followed by a keynote speech by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

“Commonwealth countries suffer over 500,000 road fatalities every year,” said HRH Prince Michael. “What more reason do we need to recognize road safety as an issue of relevance to the Commonwealth?”

The 10 recommendations range from putting road safety on the Commonwealth agenda to encouraging Commonwealth road safety partnerships. It is the goal of the expert panel that these recommendations will trigger more action among Commonwealth countries that will lead to the vision of zero fatalities and serious injuries.

Following the report launch, Dr. Hoe and CRSI Coordinator Jessica Truong moderated a pair of panels on country experiences of road safety and the recommendations, respectively. In the second panel, Dr. Bachani outlined the importance of two of the report’s recommendations: putting road safety on the Commonwealth’s agenda and adopting the safe system approach.

To view the full report and its recommendations, please click here.

On November 11-14, 2019, faculty and students from the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) were on the ground in Vietnam for a series of workshops and presentations designed towards sustainable capacity development for injury prevention in the region, share research findings, and convene with collaborators and other experts.

“This trip was a fitting representation of the multidisciplinary work we conduct at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit,” said Director Dr. Abdul Bachani, who was joined by Associate Director Dr. Qingfeng Li, as well as post-doctoral fellow Dr. Eric Thuo, and PhD student Niloufer Taber. “In just four days, our team traveled across Vietnam to work closely with students, researchers, and government officials and cover a variety of injury subjects, including road safety, trauma, drowning prevention, and more.”

Kicking off the trip, the team joined collaborators from the Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH) at a Fogarty International Center-National Institutes of Health-sponsored training on literature review and analysis for injury prevention research. Dr. Cuong Pham, a JH-IIRU collaborator and director of HUPH’s Centre for Injury Prevention and Policy Research (CIPPR), co-led a lecture on road injury and drowning prevention research with Drs. Bachani and Li before Taber facilitated a workshop on scientific literature findings and reviews.

“It's always a pleasure working together with the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit,” said Dr. Pham. “The strength of our collaboration allows us to expand our collective reach in the region and beyond. Looking ahead, we’re eager to build on our collaborations with future partnership opportunities.”

The following day in Hanoi, Dr. Bachani and the team joined global experts from the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, and HUPH, for the 3rd National Injury Conference in Vietnam, which sought to find long-term solutions to reduce the national burden of injury. In the grand meeting, Dr. Bachani presented on evidence-based policy advocacy and the team supported poster presentations from fellows in the JHU-Hanoi Trauma and Injury Research Program.

On November 13, as part of a post-conference event, local government officials and healthcare providers heard from Dr. Bachani who presented on recommendations for the health sector on injury and drowning prevention and control.

On the final day of the trip, Drs. Li and Pham co-led a dissemination workshop for the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) on measurement and evaluation. Dr. Li presented on the Unit’s work in Ho Chi Minh City over eight rounds of road safety evaluations and provided evidence-based recommendations before leading a discussion on the results and further opportunities for support.

Each year – according to the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 – 1.3 million people die on the world’s roads. Another 20-50 million sustain non-fatal injuries, and among 15-29 year-olds road traffic injuries (RTIs) are the leading cause of death globally.

Statistics such as these fuel our work here at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit to work tirelessly within the road safety field and strive to reduce the burden of RTIs around the world.

As we conclude another phase working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and international partners, we can reflect on our time working across 10 cities and 10 countries to reduce non-fatal and fatal RTIs and impact key risk factors.

  1. Understand your data sources
    When our team was in Vietnam, studying mortality due to RTIs, we had a number of secondary data sources at our disposal and each provided us with different information. From police and hospital data, to national surveys and commune level vital registration information, we were able to draw diverse insights on everything from injury and fatality rates to crash frequencies and details.

    Such is the case for road safety data around the world: to ensure the full story, it’s important to gather from multiple sources and understand the value that each has.
  2. Repeated measurements are useful in monitoring trends and identifying focus areas
    As we learned when we studied helmet use, speeding, restraint use, and drink driving in these cities and countries, repeated rounds of measurement are important to identify patterns and trends; they can help with identification of emerging issues as well as highlight areas of programmatic success.

    If we hadn’t looked at multiple rounds in Bangkok, for example, we wouldn’t have as clearly been able to conclude that females had a significantly lower rate of helmet use, or to focus on passengers, weekends, and evening/night-time enforcement.
  3. Mixed methods approach necessary to understand underlying factors
    To truly paint accurate road safety pictures, we utilized a combination of both quantitative and qualitative studies. And in doing so, this mixed-methods approach provided a clearer understanding of factors underlying the observed trends or outcomes than if we implemented a more one-dimensional focus.

    While conducting KAP roadside interviews in two Kenyan towns, we analyzed nearly 5,000 respondents’ answers to questions on the top factors related to the decision to speed, as well as the proportion that knew the speed limit at the part of the road. These analyses were helpful in assessing each towns’ road safety climate. Complementing them, however, were the insightful interviews that provided a more detailed commentary on the situation.
  4. Coordinated efforts necessary for sustained improvement
    It takes a village to oversee continued progress, which we learned throughout our work, including during drink-driving observations in Addis Ababa.

    Assessing the drink-driving rate in the Ethiopian city over more than three years, for example, we could cross-reference critical points of partner efforts such as mass media campaigns and enforcement. In doing so, we learned the significant impact of each strategy and, in tandem with each other, the overall value provided to the community.
  5. External activities do have an impact
    Sometimes, independent and uncontrollable events and activities can become mechanisms for change, too.

    During our time in Cambodia, for example, we tracked helmet wearing rates among drivers and pinpointed several newsworthy dates that triggered an impact. From the floods in Kandal and Kampong Speu, to the national elections, and even the funeral of a former king, the scope and visibility of enforcement in the region became catalysts for behavior change, both positive and negative.
  6. You can’t do it alone!
    Through the collaboration with multidisciplinary partners, messages can be amplified and the reach can be widened.

    Studying information sharing across stakeholders in Colombia, we were able to glean the true potential of campaigns when working in larger networks and increasing capacity development. As we mapped, our network of report sharing between local stakeholders, such as Universidad de Los Andes and Universidad de Antioquia, as well as other organizations including iRAP, World Bank, Vital Strategies, and World Resource Institute, we saw a greater impact and effect on our stakeholders, ranging from the media and general public, to the Bogota Traffic Police and other city government agencies.

Dr. Abdul Bachani, Director of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), will be in Geneva, Switzerland on October 29-30, 2019 for the 28th UN Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) meeting. Dr. Bachani joins road safety experts and collaborators from around the world.

While in Geneva, members of the UNRSC will participate in critical conversations on global road safety and also prepare for the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in Stockholm, Sweden on February 19-20, 2020. A member of the High Level Consultative Committee, Dr. Bachani and JH-IIRU have been closely involved in preparations for the conference.

 “This week’s meeting here in Geneva is a precious opportunity to convene with colleagues dedicated to addressing the global road safety landscape,” said Dr. Bachani. “In this short amount of time, we aim to take significant steps forward within injury prevention as we approach future sustainable development goals and global performance targets.”

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