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Injury & Prevention Center Now a CDC-Funded Injury Control Research Center

$4.2 million federal grant will expand injury prevention research across region

UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC) has been awarded a $4.2 million grant to study and promote injury prevention and control by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With the award, HIPRC also becomes one of nine CDC-funded Injury Control Research Centers nationally and the only such designated center in the Pacific Northwest. The five-year grant will significantly support HIPRC’s efforts to research injury and prevention, educate the next generation of injury prevention specialists, and translate findings into policies, programs and public outreach.

“With this federal support comes a clear mandate to continue and expand our mission of injury prevention and health equity in the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” said Monica Vavilala, M.D., director of HIPRC and a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We have found significant injury and outcome disparities associated with geography, socioeconomic class, race and ethnicity and other factors. Our goal will be to better understand these disparities and promote equity.”

HIPRC prioritizes interdisciplinary approaches to understanding injury prevention and population health, and this grant will support efforts to work with communities and improve safety across the region. The grant will fund four interdisciplinary research projects led by HIPRC faculty and focused on addressing pressing injury prevention needs:

  • Prescription opioids, which were involved in 40 percent of U.S. overdose deaths in 2016, the National Center for Health Statistics reported. The project will be led by Mark Sullivan, M.D., professor of psychiatry in the UW School of Medicine. 
  • Suicide, which in Washington state occurs at a rate 15 percent higher than the national average, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The project will be led by Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, M.D., MPH, the Bartley Dobb Professor for the Study and Prevention of Violence and an associate professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health.
  • Falls among older adults, which the CDC reports are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in adults over age 65 in the U.S. This project will be led by Hilaire Thompson, the Joanne Montgomery Endowed Professor in the UW School of Nursing.
  • Pediatric concussions and return to learn, which HIPRC researchers estimate impacted 16,000-29,000 Washington K-12 students in 2017 after extrapolating from the number of concussions at a sample of schools. The project will be led by Monica Vavilala, M.D.

The grant will also fund a community research project to be selected and mentored by HIPRC faculty.

In addition to specific research projects, the grant will also support the center’s continuing work in research, education, and outreach around injury prevention and control, with a focus on promoting health equity among diverse populations. 

“This grant provides the opportunity to achieve real impact in communities disproportionately impacted by injury and violence,” said Megan Moore, Ph.D., the Sydney Miller Endowed Associate Professor in Direct Practice in the UW School of Social Work and a core member at HIPRC. “Our interdisciplinary teams, including community stakeholders from across the WWAMI region, are focused on health equity in injury and will be working together to operationalize what it means to decrease injury risk and improve care in our communities.”

Collaborative “cores” of faculty and staff within the center will focus on each component of HIPRC’s mission, with the research core led by Rowhani-Rahbar; education core led by Fred Rivara, M.D., MPH, professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine; and outreach core co-led Moore and Beth Ebel, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine.

HIPRC was founded in 1985 with a mission to reduce the burden of injury through research, education and outreach. Partnerships between HIPRC and universities, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations have led to injury prevention projects around booster seat use, distracted driving, bicycle helmet use, window fall prevention, and many other topics. To learn more, visit www.hiprc.org.