Newswise — MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center (ICRC) has just been awarded a five-year grant totaling $4.1 million to continue as one of 11 such federally funded centers of excellence for injury prevention research, education and outreach in the nation, according to the funding agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We are very honored and excited to receive this generous funding from CDC,” Jeff Coben, M.D., WVU ICRC director, said. “The level of competition for these awards was very high and we are deeply appreciative of the many partners and collaborators who participated in our application.”
The WVU ICRC was cited by CDC reviewers and officials both for its outstanding contribution to the advancement of injury prevention during the past five-year funding period and for its innovative proposal for 2012 and beyond.
Under Dr. Coben’s leadership, the ICRC has enhanced scientific discovery through its research program, improved the capacity of the injury prevention field through its education and training program and increased public awareness of injury control and strengthened injury prevention practice through its outreach program.
For example, ICRC faculty members have authored or co-authored more than 400 research articles and nearly 300 presentations at scientific conferences over the past four years alone. The ICRC has attracted new researchers and students to the injury field; developed partnerships with injury prevention programs throughout the region; worked to provide policymakers with information on potential safety regulations; and established and addressed Center research and prevention priorities. Those priorities include pressing injury problems, such as motor-vehicle-related injuries, unintentional drug overdoses and poisonings, falls among the elderly, occupational injuries, traumatic brain injuries, suicide and self-harm and intimate partner violence.
For the 2012-2017 grant period, the WVU ICRC plans include new research studies that will evaluate the implementation of an evidence-based fall prevention program for the elderly, evaluate the effectiveness of cell phone texting laws, develop improved drug overdose surveillance and epidemiology and assess suicide data quality and underreporting.
The ICRC’s education and training program plans to expand injury-related course offerings and programs, implement innovative field experiences for students and recruit additional students into injury and violence prevention and control programs to meet the national need.
The ICRC outreach program will expand its partnerships with state violence and injury prevention programs throughout the Appalachian region, translate research findings to prevention-oriented guidelines and policies, and provide technical assistance in the public health disciplines to its injury prevention partners.
“Our Center is uniquely situated and equipped to address injury priorities and provide technical assistance and support to our injury prevention partners in West Virginia and throughout the Appalachian region, while contributing to the broader effort as one of a national network of ICRCs,” Coben said. The CDC-supported network of ICRCs includes currently funded programs at Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of North Carolina and Washington University in St. Louis.
Within WVU, the ICRC is positioned as a resource under the joint oversight of the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health. Nearly 30 faculty members from throughout WVU are affiliated with the Center. Twenty additional faculty affiliates from other universities and research institutes in the U.S. and abroad are also affiliated with the ICRC.
“We have a responsibility to help ensure the good health of the people of West Virginia and beyond,” Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences, said. “This CDC grant will allow the ICRC to continue its fine work addressing the safety and health issues that affect us most.”
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) of CDC initiated the ICRC program in 1987 in order to develop centers that conduct high quality research and help translate scientific discoveries into practice for the prevention and control of fatal and nonfatal injuries, violence and related disabilities and serve as training centers as well as information centers for the public.