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Awarded Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Pennsylvania Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Program

FOA Number: CE07-004: Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Prevention
Project Period: 09/30/2007 - 09/29/2012
Application/Grant Number: CE001274
Principal Investigator: Mark Steven Dias, M.D.
Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center
500 University Drive
P.O. Box 850, H110
Hershey, PA 17033-0850
Phone: (717)531-3040
FAX: (717)531-3858


This proposal will evaluate the effectiveness of two prevention strategies to reduce the incidence of abusive head trauma (AHT) in Pennsylvania (PA). A post-natal hospital based prevention program, developed by the PI to educate parents of all newborn infants about the impact of violent infant shaking and already underway in PA, will be continued. Parents will be exposed to both written and video information about violent infant shaking before they leave the hospital and asked to voluntarily sign a commitment statement (CS) affirming their participation. Hospital compliance will be measured through the monthly return of the CS to the investigators. The incidence of AHT in children < 24 months will be tracked using a state-wide centralized registry and compared both with historical incidence rates for the six preceding years and with contemporaneous multi-state AHT incidence rates from the Kids Inpatient Database (KID). In addition, 31 counties in central PA will be randomized to two groups: parents in both groups I and II will receive the hospital based intervention. Pediatric care providers (PCP) having offices in the Group II counties will additionally provide parents with information about crying and violent infant shaking, in the form of a ‘crying card’, at the 2, 4, and 6 month health maintenance visits. Parents will in turn be asked to sign a response form affirming their participation; these response forms will be returned to the investigators for compliance tracking. The feasibility, costs, and effectiveness of the two interventions in reducing AHT will be evaluated and contrasted.