Engineering Faculty Are Part of Injury Prevention Research Center

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For 22 years, the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) has pursued its goal of controlling and preventing injuries, especially in rural communities.

Now, with a $4.2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), IPRC's work to ensure the safety of people in Iowa and the Midwest will continue for at least five more years.

“The UI Injury Prevention Research Center will continue to serve a critical role in building the evidence base for injury and violence prevention,” says Linda C. Degutis, director of CDC’s Injury Center. “Connecting research to communities is a primary focus for CDC, and we are pleased they are a part of this research network by looking at such issues as bullying, teen driver crashes, and domestic violence.”

Directed by Corinne Peek-Asa, professor of occupational and environmental health, the UI IPRC includes 66 researchers from 23 departments in the Colleges of Public Health, Medicine, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Nursing.  Involved from Engineering are Paul Hanley, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; Salam Rahmatalla, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Geb Thomas, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering.

Peek-Asa attributes the strong reputation of the UI IPRC to “our interdisciplinary approach—bringing together scientists from different disciplines to conduct high-impact research and, along with injury prevention advocates from the community, translate the research findings into policy and practice.”

Deputy Director John Lundell notes that CDC reviewers who evaluated the IPRC recognized, “The center has a history of having a major impact on the field of injury prevention in Iowa, in particular, and in rural areas in general.” He has worked with the center since 1994 and has seen it become “an invaluable resource for injury and violence prevention advocates across the Midwest.” Lundell frequently receives inquiries from rural and small communities. “They are looking for injury data,” he says, “or help with evaluating the effectiveness of their programs.”

With the help of the CDC funding, the UI IPRC will undertake projects to evaluate the effectiveness of Iowa’s anti-bullying program in schools, to implement a parent-based teen driving safety program in an Iowa workplace wellness program, to investigate the causes of growing unintentional poisoning incidents in Iowa, and to evaluate the effectiveness of a program to reduce domestic violence among men previously convicted for domestic assault. The center also supports researchers across the university on many other projects related to injury prevention and control.

The Iowa IPRC is one of 11 injury “Centers of Excellence” nationwide funded by the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention.