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Two Decades of Injury Prevention

The statistics on injuries are chilling: They are the leading cause of death for children and young adults in the United States. Fifty million Americans suffer non-fatal injuries, and 149,000 are killed each year. Injury-related medical care costs society $406 billion annually. But many common injuries are easily prevented by education, simple safety products and new policies and laws. For 20 years, the School’s Center for Injury Research and Policy has helped to redefine injury as a pressing public health problem. Following are 20 of the Center’s key accomplishments.


  1. Demonstrated that graduated driver licensing programs for teens reduce fatal crash risk by more than 35 percent.
  2. Calculated that an estimated 356,000 young children in the U.S. are too big to fit safely in existing car safety seats.
  3. Trained more than 20,000 families in Baltimore in preventing child injuries in the home.
  4. Authored groundbreaking textbooks on the burden, costs and prevention of injury in the U.S. and globally.
  5. Determined that low-income children on Medicaid in Baltimore are injured at a rate twice the national average.
  6. Developed the Injury Severity Score, giving physicians and researchers a standard tool to describe injuries and evaluate treatment.
  7. Produced seminal aviation safety research on pilot error, crash risks, crash survival and intervention effectiveness.
  8. Documented the feasibility and effectiveness of gun safety devices to reduce accidental shootings.
  9. Conducted research used by Congress to improve toy labeling that warns of choking risks to children.
  10. Developed and evaluated interventions to protect victims of domestic violence when they seek help through the legal and health care systems.
  11. Pioneered self-management programs for survivors of limb-threatening leg injuries to improve the recovery process and reduce disabilities.
  12. Trained thousands of students and professionals in the science of injury prevention and control in Bloomberg School courses and summer institutes.
  13. Created Web-based systems and interactive computer kiosks in emergency departments, trauma centers and pediatric offices to communicate injury prevention.
  14. Identified strategies to improve traffic safety in low- and middle-income countries.
  15. Demonstrated the power of legislation and litigation to achieve safer products and environments.
  16. Conducted leading research that showed how alcohol increases injury risks to boaters, bicyclists and pilots, as well as motor vehicle occupants.
  17. Provided evidence that was used by the Supreme Court in their decision to uphold the rights of people injured while boating to seek legal remedies.
  18. Showed that Level 1 trauma center care significantly reduces the risk of death and improves recovery from severe injuries.
  19. Partnered with engineering students to develop and patent a safer helmet for white-water rafting and kayaking.
  20. Through partnership, leadership and advocacy, translated injury control science into action to reduce the burden of injury in the U.S. and around the world.