The overall goal of the program in injury epidemiology is to develop epidemiologists who further the science of injury control and are capable of conducting research and translating research findings into action to prevent injuries. Epidemiologists working in the area of injury and violence prevention conduct research describing injury hazards, identifying risk factors for injury and violence, and quantifying the effect of various interventions designed to prevent injury and violence.

The scope of injury and violence control is broad, encompassing such diverse areas as: suicide, homicide, youth violence, intimate partner violence, firearm violence, workplace violence, school violence, injury and violence as a global health concern, transportation safety (including occupant and pedestrian safety, roadway design, policies involving alcohol while driving), older adults falls, occupational injury, sports and recreation injuries and chronic and overuse (musculoskeletal) injuries.

Students in the Injury Epidemiology Program receive training in how to conduct high-quality epidemiologic research that directly addresses prevention opportunities. Furthermore, they learn how to engage with non-epidemiologists (ranging from policy makers to community advocates) to address interventions that (based on the best available scientific knowledge) will prevent injuries and violence.

Injury Courses

Related Courses

  • EPID 766: Epidemiologic Research with Healthcare Databases
  • EPID 790: Intervention Epidemiology


Core Faculty

Dr. Steve Marshall: Opioid overdose; Sports and recreational injuries; Injury surveillance; transportation injury; longitudinal data and survival analsysis, evaluation of injury interventions using observaional and randomized designs

Dr. Yvonne Golightly: Modifiable risk of osteoarthritis (OA); Biomechanics and musculoskeletal disorders of the lower extremities; and biomarkers associated with injury and OA

Dr. Shabbar I. Ranapurwala: Causal inference in injury prevention; Homicide and firearm violence; opioid disorders and overdose; road safety

Dr. Becky Naumann: Systems science in injury prevention; opioid disorders and overdose; road safety

Dr. David Richardson: Occupational health; Injury prevention; Cancer, Environment


Dr. Lauren Brinkley-Rubenstein, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Medicine. Incarceration, Opioid Disorder and Overdose.

Dr. Zachary Y. Kerr, Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Injury surveillance, evaluation of injury prevention strategies related to concussion and heat stroke, epidemiology and prevention of injury in populations at high risk.

Kristen Kucera, Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Work related musculoskeletal disorders and exposure assessment; sports injury epidemiology; Surveillance of sports and occupational injuries.

Dr. Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Associate Professor Health Policy and Management. Complex systems, systems dynamics, opioid overdose, transportation injury.

Dr. Jason P. Mihalik, Associate Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Impact biomechanics, concussion prevention, concussion management, military health.

Dr. Johna Register-Mihalik, Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Traumatic brain injury (TBI); behavorial change; concussion disclosure; concussion management.

Dr. Timothy Platts-Mills, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine. Pain, older adults, opioid overdose.

Dr. Meghan E. Shanahan, Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health. Child maltreatment, child health, opioid overdose.

Dr. Anna Waller, Professor, Department of Emergency medicine. Syndromic surveillance, emergency department visit, Poison control center and EMS run data for public health surveillance; Data quality control issues for injury surveillance; Public health preparedness.


Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project: For more than 25 years, the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project (JoCoOA) in Smithfield, NC has established itself as one of the premier longitudinal research studies world-wide regarding the epidemiology of osteoarthritis. A series of studies nested within this cohort have examined the relationship between injury and osteoarthritis.| Co-PIs: Yvonne Golightly PT PhD | Amanda Nelson, MD PhD

Opioids at the Health and Transportation Safety Nexus: Supported by the UNC Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety(CSCRS), this project explores how linked databases can be used to explore the role of impairment from opioids in motor vehicle crashes on public roads. PI: Christopher Cherry, PhD | Co-Is: Rebecca B. Naumann, PhD, MSPH | Stephen W. Marshall, PhD

Evaluation of North Carolina Medical Board’s Opioid Prescribing Policy. This project evaluates the impact of NC Medical Board’s opioid prescribing policies on inappropriate tapering and abrupt stoppage of opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths in North Carolina. It utilizes the North Carolina Controlled Substances Reporting System (NC’s prescription drug monitoring database) and NC death records. This study is funded by the CDC. PI: Shabbar Ranapurwala, PhD, MPH

The BANK Study: Concussion Beliefs, Attitudes, Norms, & Knowledge. The long-term research mission of the Concussion Disclosure BANK study is to improve concussion prevention, detection, and care by combining training and education with excellence in clinical care. The primary project goal is to develop a theory-driven educational intervention that changes norms and personal beliefs around concussion disclosure. The project is a collaboration between the IPRC and the Keller-Army Hospital at the United States Military Academy and is funded by a Mind Matters Research Challenge Grant from the NCAA-DOD Grand Alliance. PIs: Johna Register-Mihalik, PhD, ATC | Stephen W. Marshall, PhD

Driver Licensing Policies and Young People in North Carolina: Unintended Consequences on Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations. The goal of this project is to improve understanding of race and income differences in graduate driver licensing system (GDLS) effects on crashes and associated injuries, as well as the extent of unlicensed driving associated with GDLS enactment among young people in NC. This is project is funded by IPRC’s award from the CDC National Center Injury Prevention and Control for the 2014-2019 funding cycle. PI: Yudan Wang, PhD | Co-Is: Robert Foss, PhD | Arthur Goodwin, PhD | Stephen W. Marshall, PhD

UNC Injury Prevention Research Center

The UNC Injury Prevention Research Center is dedicated to conducting innovative research, training, and outreach that strengthens and disseminates the scientific base for injury and violence prevention. It’s researchers are drawn from many Departments and Schools across campus, including Epidemiology.

The Center’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and practice helps create and support research teams that span multiple disciplines and academic departments and that can be rapidly responsive to emerging injury and violence problems. Faculty, staff, and students from over a dozen academic disciplines collaborate to form this Center.

Graduate Student Research and Assistantships

Students in the Injury Epidemiology Program receive training in how to conduct high-quality epidemiologic research that directly addresses prevention opportunities. Furthermore, they learn how to engage with non-epidemiologists, ranging from policy makers to community advocates, to learn about real-world interventions to prevent injuries and violence. These experiences are gained through interdisciplinary opportunities, and courses taught in the Schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Social Work, and in the Departments of Health Behavior, Maternal and Child Health, Exercise and Sport Science, City and Regional Planning, and Public Policy.

Graduate Student Assistantships (GRAs) offer students an opportunity to gain research-related experience with program faculty and provide hands-on training with study conducts, analysis and manuscript development. GRA opportunities provide students with a chance to work alongside faculty in the Department of Epidemiology and UNC research centers, including the Injury Prevention Research Center, Center for Retired Athletes, Center for Highway Traffic Safety, Center for Regional and Urban Planning, and Thurston Bowles Arthritis Center.

The UNC Injury Prevention Research Center supports an IVP Fellows program. The IVP Fellowship is an opportunity for masters and doctoral students from diverse academic, professional, and demographic backgrounds to gain hands-on experience in injury and violence prevention. IVP received a stipend, mentoring, and other advancement opportunities.