Kotch to spend semester in Edinburgh on Kenan research leave

January 29, 2008

Photograph, Dr. Jonathan Kotch

Photograph, Dr. Jonathan Kotch

Jonathan Kotch, MD, MPH, professor of maternal and child health at the School of Public Health, is spending the next six months in Edinburgh, Scotland, having received 2007-2008 competitive Kenan research leave. There, he will help implement a comprehensive injury prevention plan for Scottish children and youth.

Kotch is in Edinburgh at the invitation of Dr. Jonathan Sher, former director of the N.C. Child Advocacy Institute and now research director of Children in Scotland, a unique national agency of more than 400 volunteer and nonprofit organizations working to promote the well-being of children and their families.

Specifically, Kotch will have a leadership role in instituting the agency’s Child Safety Strategy, Preventing Unintentional Injuries to Children and Young People in Scotland. The plan focuses on injuries that result in death or serious disability – namely, falls, burns and scalds, and road traffic accidents – and on social issues such as the increased risk of injury among children who are economically disadvantaged.

Kotch has a long history of policy and program experience in child care health and safety and a reputation for creating successful collaborations between the UNC School of Public Health and communities in North Carolina and abroad.

He has worked with child care centers and local health departments throughout the state. His partnerships abroad include seven months he spent in 1991 with the Injury Prevention Research Unit at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

While in Scotland, Kotch will offer to present seminars at the University of Edinburgh School of Public Health, at the request of Dr. Raj Bhopal, a professor who taught a decade ago in the UNC Department of Epidemiology as a visiting scholar.

Kotch is pleased to build upon existing relationships between UNC and colleagues in Scotland and excited to work directly with a national authority to advance a comprehensive injury prevention plan for children.

“This undertaking is a good fit with our efforts in North Carolina child care centers — working to prevent playground injuries, unintentional poisonings, indoor falls and road traffic accidents to and from the child care center,” Kotch said.

“Since the purpose of any leave is to learn more,” he says, “I look forward to honing my skills in moving from research to practice. My number one objective is to learn more, specifically in the area of child injury prevention of young children.”

Kotch received his medical doctor degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and a master’s of public health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP).

The coveted Kenan research leave is awarded based upon the length and distinction of the applicant’s service, the quality of the proposal, and the likelihood that the research will further the research interests of the University of North Carolina.


School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu.