Injury Epidemiology Research
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 policymakers to community advocates) to address interventions that (based on the best available scientific knowledge) will prevent injuries and violence.
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.
Abilities and Knowledge
Injury epidemiologists graduating from the program with a PhD will have these abilities:
- Superb command of the principles of epidemiologic studies in injury research
- Ability to design and conduct epidemiologic studies in injury research
- Ability to collaborate and communicate with other scientists and clinicians in diverse areas, such as, but not limited to, biomechanics, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, and trauma care
- Ability to read and critically interpret the scientific literature
- Ability to assess and integrate scientific information from diverse sources
- Ability to communicate complex epidemiologic concepts, methods, and findings, to non-epidemiologists and non-scientists in simple, clear, and accurate language
- Ability to develop and implement injury interventions, and to design studies to evaluate interventions
- Ability to use research findings to prevent injury through collaborations with policy makers, advocacy groups, and others
Injury epidemiologists graduating from the program with a PhD will possess these key knowledge items:
- Understand the importance of injury, and specific areas within injury, from a public health perspective
- Understand basic concepts in injury prevention, such as the Haddon matrix, and the difference between active and passive intervention
- Understand the use of multiple epidemiological study designs to assess risk factors for injury in diverse injury topics
- Understand the use of epidemiologic studies to quantify the effectiveness of interventions
- Understand the application of surveillance techniques to injury surveillance
- Understand the global nature of the injury problem in diverse countries
- Understand the multidisciplinary and multifactorial nature of injuries
- EPID 625: Injury as a Public Health Problem (Dr. Yvonne Golightly)
- EPID 626: Violence as a Public Health Problem (Dr. Meghan Shanahan)
- EPID 766: Epidemiologic Research with Healthcare Databases
- EPID 790: Intervention Epidemiology
- Injury student seminar/journal club
- Public Seminars sponsored by Department of Epidemiology
- Seminars presented by The Injury Prevention Research Center
- Seminars presented by The Highway Safety Research Center and the Collaborative Studies Center for Road Safety
Dr. Steve Marshall: Opioid overdose; Sports and recreational injuries; Injury surveillance; transportation injury; longitudinal data and survival analysis, evaluation of injury interventions using observational 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. (Not taking students for Fall 2022)
Dr Anna Austin, Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health. Child maltreatment and Abuse, Opioid Disorder and Overdose, Suicide
Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta, Senior Scientist, Injury Prevention Research Center. Opioid Disorder and Overdose, Emerging Database, Public Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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
Dr. Kristen Kucera, Associate 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. Beth Moracco, Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior. Violence against women, behavioral change, program evaluation
Dr. Jason P. Mihalik, Associate Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Impact biomechanics, concussion prevention, concussion management, military health
Dr. Johna Register-Mihalik, Associate Professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Traumatic brain injury (TBI); behavioral change; concussion disclosure; concussion management
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. Its 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 policymakers 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.