ICRC Success Stories – Training Impact

Penn Injury Science Center's Trainee Learning Lab Prepares Next Generation of Public Health Professionals

The University of Pennsylvania Penn Injury Science Center hosts a monthly Trainee Learning Lab during the academic year. The Trainee Learning Lab helps students connect with others interested in injury science research, engage with leading authors in the field of violence and injury prevention, and learn skills in research critique of manuscripts in injury science. The Trainee Learning Lab is open to undergraduate and graduate students in Injury Science, including research staff, research assistants, capstone mentees, and those with a keen interest in the field.

The Trainee Learning Lab became a virtual service in 2020, which allowed the Penn Injury Science Center to open participation outside of the University of Pennsylvania. They began partnering with other Injury Control Research Centers (ICRCs) such as Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington. Trainees meet virtually each month to discuss and interpret peer-reviewed articles related to injury and violence research. The Trainee Learning Lab also invites guest authors to join the discussions. Trainees lead small group discussions to summarize the article, discuss their critical review and personal reflections, and later rejoin the larger group for additional discussion. The interpretation of research articles builds skills such as the ability to critically review the strengths and limitations of the methods, analyses, results, and generalizability of findings. Themes for the 2022-2023 school year included:

  • Introduction to Injury Science
  • Sports Concussion
  • Opioid Use Disorder
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Youth Violence
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes

A total of 75 undergraduate and graduate students have participated in the Trainee Learning Lab since its creation in 2020. All self-reported increases in confidence. One trainee noted, “It is a great opportunity to connect and work with students and researchers across the country.” Another trainee said, “I liked the ability to talk through ideas with other trainees in a less intimidating setting, and then moving to discussing with the author. It made me consider new ideas without feeling intimidated like I often do in other settings.”

The 2022-2023 school year included 23 trainees from 15 institutions, five of which are affiliated with a CDC-funded Injury Control Research Center. The Trainee Learning Lab also invited authors from these five CDC-funded ICRCs. Penn Injury Science Center presented this model at a Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) webinar for Innovative Approaches to Academic Injury and Violence Prevention Training: Training the Next Generation. The Penn Injury Science Center hoped sharing the model would encourage participation and inform other groups that are interested in hosting their own learning lab.

New Training Teaches the Next Generation Child Injury Prevention (The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital)

Injury is the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States, but many of these injuries are preventable. Medical professionals have an important role in treating childhood injury. They can become champions for prevention. Nationwide Children’s Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) developed Trainees for Child Injury Prevention (T4CIP) to promote interest and engagement in child injury prevention. Medical students, residents, and fellows with an interest in pediatrics, child injury prevention, health behavior change, and communication can apply to become pediatric trainees in T4CIP. The program exposes them to public health approaches and community engagement to prevent child and teen injuries and violence.

Trainees in T4CIP agree to a one-year commitment. They participate in monthly trainings and small group discussions, help create two Days of Action, and implement outreach activities at their institution or in their community. Leaders in the injury prevention field join the monthly trainings to discuss topics such as message creation, community outreach, topic specific education, and more.

The two Days of Action occur in May and October on a different injury topic. The T4CIP steering committee selects the topic for the May Day of Action and the participants select the topic for the October Day of Action. Trainees participate in one of four working groups Diversity and Equity, Policy, Engagement, or Messaging on the October Day of Action. Participants use their own social media handles and work with their institution and community partners to encourage social media participation on the Day of Action. In 2021, the May Day of Action focused on high-powered magnets and the October Day of Action focused on safer storage of firearms.

T4CIP has reached 118 participants from 62 institutions and 27 states since 2021. The participants include 52 medical students and 66 medical residents and fellows. These trainees are using their new skills to engage around child injury prevention and build strong relationships with peers, mentors, and patient families.

T4CIP is sponsored by the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) and Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention (COIVPP).

Engaging Students to Enhance Their Knowledge and Competencies in Injury Science (University of Michigan)

Rates of injury-related morbidity and mortality remain high across all populations despite significant progress in the science of injury prevention. Successful approaches to decrease the burden of injury require innovation from a well-trained public health workforce.

University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center (U-M IPC) recognized the need for evidence-based, comprehensive training for the public health workforce. This need aligns with the IPC’s goals of training the next generation of injury prevention practitioners and researchers. The U-M IPC team developed a Certificate in Injury Science (CIS) for graduate students through the University of Michigan School of Public Health. The team inventoried courses offered through public health and other disciplines and determined relevant core and elective coursework to develop the CIS program. To launch CIS, the team created a campaign to educate faculty and students about the breadth of topics that fall under the definition of injury, and the importance of injury prevention science. Many people perceive injuries as accidents and don’t understand that they are largely predictable and preventable.

The CIS program actively engages students in coursework and an internship practicum that enhances their knowledge and competencies in injury science. Courses cover foundational content, methodological skills, and policy analysis. Coursework specific to injury involves multiple disciplines, theoretical perspectives, and cutting-edge methodologies in efforts to address the injury prevention needs of groups disproportionately affected. Injury content in related disciplines is incorporated into this CIS program to accommodate students with varying educational backgrounds, interests, and needs. The CIS program has evolved over time and integrated new and innovative components as on-campus education shifted to include on-line learning opportunities. This provides flexibility and keeps the certificate program relevant and engaging to the next generation of student learners.

Twelve people have earned the certificate to date. Students who have completed the certificate are employed in research and public health practice positions in health systems, academic institutions, health departments, community agencies, as well as completing doctoral degrees. CDC’s funding for U-M IPC allowed partnering that created synergies around training the next generation of injury practitioners and scientists.

INSIGHT Program Prepares Student for Injury Prevention Careers (University of Washington)

There is shortage of trained injury researchers and clinicians in public health. The University of Washington (UW) Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC) developed the  Injury Prevention Student Internship Training (INSIGHT) summer research program in response to this need.  The goals are to create a pipeline for the next generation of injury prevention and treatment researchers and clinicians and to foster interest and growth in different types of public health expertise and the partnerships that public health convenes, supports, or facilitates.

The INSIGHT Program is comprised of two parts, INSIGHT UG for undergraduate students, graduate students, and first year medical students, and INSIGHT HS for high school students. INSIGHT UG is an intensive, eight-week summer internship. Interns work closely with faculty mentors on their research projects throughout the summer. The program consists of rigorous independent research, clinical virtual shadowing opportunities, professional development seminars, injury research seminars, and competitive research poster and virtual presentation on final day of the program. Past research areas have focused on the risk factors and causes of injuries, injury prevention strategies, acute and chronic care of injured patients, outcomes from trauma, and interventions to return injured people to their full potential.

INSIGHT HS is a four-week summer program designed to introduce students to public health, research, health equity and medicine and related health professions. INSIGHT HS students gain exposure to the medical and public health fields, including data collection and get an overview on social justice issues and health disparities. Learning objectives for students include understanding core public health concepts, conducting public health field research data collection methods and analysis, completing a public health capstone project on a predetermined injury prevention topic, and much more. Past high school research areas have included an emergency bleeding control training program, bike helmet use in Seattle, and a safe driving social media campaign.

The INSIGHT Program was a small face-to-face program in the past with participants mainly from Washington. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged program managers to pivot to on-line educational experiences. This approach proved highly successful for participants and allowed for significant expansion of the number of participants. INSIGHT UG 2020 included 458 applicants and 18 were selected. In 2021, the program included 758 applicants from over 100 schools. Twenty-four participants were selected. The 24 participants represented 10 states and 14 different academic institutions.  INSIGHT HS 2021 accepted 81 students. The students represented 62 high schools, 10 states, and China.

Challenges create opportunities. Through HIPRC’s innovations, the UW INSIGHT Program increased reach and scale to train the next generation of researchers, public health experts and clinicians focused on injury prevention and treatment. HIPRC’s goal is to continue using an online model to grow the program.

Potentially traumatic events in childhood, also called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adulthood.

Iowa found as many as 56% of its adult population reports at least one childhood trauma, and 15% reports four or more.  People with four or more childhood traumatic experiences have a risk six times higher than others of developing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and suicidality. ACEs can have negative effects on health, well-being, impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential. ACEs can be prevented. Preparing the next generation of professionals with knowledge and tools to address childhood trauma will allow them to intervene earlier to prevent adverse outcomes.

In 2015, the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center (UI IPRC) joined the Promoting Resilience Initiatives (PRI) on campus with the College of Education and the School of Social Work. Partners in this initiative include campus staff from the colleges of medicine, nursing, and public health. With funding from CDC’s Injury Control Research Centers Program, the PRI developed a six-course interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate program in Resilience and Trauma-Informed Perspectives that launched in 2018. Students are required to take two core courses and choose from 15 elective courses, including an Injury and Violence Prevention course which is taught by the UI IPRC. The certificate program prepares students for their professional fields. Program outcomes in the certificate program include understanding:

  • What trauma is and how it impacts the brain, behaviors, and health,
  • Why it is essential to strengthen resiliency for survivors to thrive, and
  • How we can decrease or eliminate trauma in society, prevent ACEs, and create trauma-informed organizations.

The program was well received and continues to grow each year. The first year had 33 students enrolled in the certificate program. The program in spring 2020 had 74 enrolled, in spring 2021, 110 enrolled, and in fall 2021, 132 students enrolled. Spring 2022 is projected to have 125 students enrolled.

Overhead photo of a group working at a circular table.

Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) plays a critical role training and developing the next generation of researchers and public health professionals. The Center has graduated thousands of students at all levels of training, from undergraduate to post-doctoral since its creation in 1987. Faculty affiliated with the center offer the most graduate courses in injury and violence prevention anywhere in the world. These courses, now number 25, and cover topics such as transportation safety, youth violence, substance abuse, and trauma care, and the multiple disciplines used in injury research and practice such as epidemiology, law and policy, behavioral science, and communication. These courses reach 300–400 undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students annually. As a result, the center contributes to the supply of qualified practitioners and researchers dedicated to ensuring that injury and violence prevention research continues to flourish and that it tackles new problems as they emerge.

Johns Hopkins CIRP-mentored doctoral graduates (at least 3–4 per year) secure faculty positions at prestigious institutions throughout the country, most recently in Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois. They continue to conduct research, publish papers in highly regarded journals, and present their work at key national meetings. Doctoral graduates have also secured leadership positions in health care and public health settings. For instance, in the last 5 years, one of the center’s graduates has gone on to become a trauma research manager at a large Level 1 trauma center; another serves as Director of Health Research and Innovation for a global healthcare design firm. And a third is the Social Science Research Analyst for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Administration for Children and Families. Finally, the Johns Hopkins ICRC has provided doctoral and post-doctoral training to at least seven individuals who have gone on to become directors of other ICRCs, illustrating the important role centers can have in developing and grooming the next cadre of injury prevention scholars and leaders.

The core of Hopkins’ training and professional development is its award-winning Summer Institute (SI) that has trained nearly 800 participants. This premier training program was honored in 2013 with the Ellen P. Schmidt Award from Safe States Alliance, the leading professional organization for state-based injury and violence prevention practitioners. SI alumni form a strong, active, and growing network for sharing knowledge and applying skills in their communities. SI participants and graduates hold leadership positions in federal agencies, such as DHHS, state health department violence and injury prevention programs, and in local agencies, such as emergency medical services and trauma centers.

To learn more:
Johns Hopkins School Of Public Health

The University of Michigan Injury Center (UMIC) sponsors a series of day-long summits to teach diverse audiences about significant topics in injury and violence prevention, most recently sport concussions and prescription drug overdose. The Sport Concussion Summit featured invited experts who explored the latest science on sports concussions and relevant issues beyond the playing field. The summit focused on researchers, clinicians, practitioners, policy makers, and members of the media—but also welcomed athletic trainers, coaches, athletes, students, and parents.

To further increase awareness, UMIC produced a 10-minute video called “Concussion 101,” featuring interviews with summit speakers, which has had more than 1,200 views to-date on their YouTube channel. The video has been lauded by the Brain Injury Association (BIA) of Michigan and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and has been posted prominently on both organizations’ websites. The BIA is also showing it at local movie theaters. “Our concussion summit was a great example of work only a center can do that reaches beyond a single study,” noted UMIC’s Director, Dr. Rebecca Cunningham. “It had wide appeal, using innovative strategies to reach professional, lay, and public audiences with the latest science.”

To learn more:
University of Michigan

The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S) at the University of Rochester Medical Center conducts a bi-annual training to promote the study of public health approaches to suicide prevention. The 4-day Research Training Institute (RTI) equips injury and violence prevention professionals and researchers across the nation with information on suicide prevention science and research methods. The RTI also fosters collaborative links between the injury and violence prevention and suicide research communities to facilitate the sharing of perspectives, knowledge and skills. Researchers and practitioners apply as teams, proposing collaborative suicide prevention research projects that they develop during the RTI and through an extended period of mentoring support that follows. Examples of RTI collaborative research projects include the development of community-based suicide prevention programs, investigations into the reorganization of emergency room services, and explorations of how state agencies and researchers can more effectively work together to prevent suicide.

To learn more:
University of Rochester Medical Center