HIPRC News -- October 2019
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In Focus: Growth at HIPRC

As of Aug. 1, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center became one of nine CDC-funded Injury Control Research Centers and the only such center on the west coast. In developing the initial grant application, HIPRC leadership also re-evaluated and updated the center’s approach to the mission of reducing the burden of injury through research, education, and outreach.

Health Equity

iHealInjury-related Health Equity Across the Lifespan (iHeal) is the major theme of HIPRC’s CDC grant activities, based on the ongoing iHeal project to improve research around health disparities led by core member Megan Moore, Ph.D., MSW.
The center will leverage its experience in multidisciplinary research to collaborate with and support communities impacted by health disparities around factors such as race/ethnicity, language, gender, age, rurality, and other factors.


HIPRC has organized around four “cores” to facilitate focus and collaboration on its mission priorities:

Research Core

Research Core Director, Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Core Associate Director, Megan Moore, Ph.D., MSW
Research Core Associate Director, Stephen Mooney, Ph.D.
Research is the foundation of HIPRC’s work, and the research core is focused on supporting center faculty, partners, and trainees in conducting scientifically rigorous research, accessing data, seeking funding, and publishing findings. In collaboration with the outreach core, the research core will also partner with diverse communities to research pressing injury needs.

Education Core

Education Core Co-Director, Fred Rivara, M.D., MPH
Education Core Co-Director, Hilaire Thompson, Ph.D., RN, ARNP, FAAN
Education Core Assistant Director, Christopher DeCou, Ph.D.
The education core is focused on developing a pipeline of injury control researchers and specialists, with initiatives ranging from the INSIGHT summer research program through postdoctoral fellowships and continuing education for healthcare professionals. With support from the research and outreach cores, trainees of the education core engage in mentored research in alignment with community needs.

Outreach Core

Outreach Core Co-Director, Megan Moore, Ph.D., MSW (Community Outreach)
Outreach Core Co-Director, Beth Ebel, M.D., MPH (Policy & Practice Outreach)

The goal of the outreach core is to engage with impacted communities and translate research findings into evidence-based policies and programs. The outreach core will also facilitate collaboration between the research and education cores and community partners, including a community advisory board. The outreach core also seeks to share new research findings with communities and policy makers through innovative communication strategies, with a focus on reaching groups that have been historically under-served in health education efforts.

Administration Core

Administration Core Director, Monica Vavilala, M.D.
The administrative core supports collaboration with institutional partners, provides leadership among the cores, and supports logistical needs.

Injury Sections

The new organizational strategy will support and enhance the center’s continuing injury priority areas: traumatic brain injury, safe & active transport, injury care, violence prevention, and global injury.

CDC-funded Research Projects:

The CDC grant will fund four interdisciplinary research projects led by HIPRC faculty:
  • Prescription opioids, which were involved in 40 percent of U.S. overdose deaths in 2016, the National Center for Health Statistics reported. The project will be led by Mark Sullivan, M.D., professor of psychiatry in the UW School of Medicine.
  • Suicide, which in Washington state occurs at a rate 15 percent higher than the national average, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The project will be led by Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, M.D., MPH, the Bartley Dobb Professor for the Study and Prevention of Violence and an associate professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health.
  • Falls among older adults, which the CDC reports are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in adults over age 65 in the U.S. This project will be led by Hilaire Thompson, Ph.D., RN, the Joanne Montgomery Endowed Professor in the UW School of Nursing.
  • Pediatric concussions and return to learn, which HIPRC researchers estimate impacted 16,000-29,000 Washington K-12 students in 2017 after extrapolating from the number of concussions at a sample of schools. The project will be led by Monica Vavilala, M.D.

The grant will also fund a community research project to be selected and mentored by HIPRC faculty.


A number of new roles at HIPRC are being expanded or added in response to growth and new projects at the center, including projects funded by the CDC injury center grant as well as the formation of the Washington State Legislature-funded Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program.

New Staff:

Alex Bellenger, Research Coordinator, Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program
Andrew Bowen, Research Coordinator, Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program
Alice Ellyson, Research Consultant, Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program
Emma Gause, Graduate Research Assistant, HIPRC projects and Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program
Amelia Hanron, Research Coordinator, Young Drivers and Concussion Study
Miriam Haviland, Research Consultant, Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program
Amy Muma, Research Coordinator, Return to Learn Study
Drew Tschida, Research Coordinator, Football Helmets and Concussion Study
Julia Velonjara, Research Coordinator, PEGASUS Argentina Project
Heidi Vanderford, Administrative Assistant

Anyone can learn suicide-intervention tactics

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a troubling 56% increase in the risk of suicide among young people ages 10 to 24 over a 10-year period.
HIPRC core member and suicide prevention researcher Christopher DeCou, Ph.D., discussed concrete strategies and advice on what to do if you’re worried a loved on is contemplating suicide. His recommendations were featured in the UW Medicine Newsroom and KOMO News.

Firearm researchers identify roadblocks to firearm data

While gun violence in America kills more than 35,000 people a year and as calls for policies to stem the crisis grow, University of Washington researchers point out in a new analysis that barriers to data stand in the way of advancing solutions.

“Firearm data availability, accessibility and infrastructure need to be substantially improved to reduce the burden of the public health crisis of firearm violence,” said Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, M.D., Ph.D., lead co-author on the paper and co-director of HIPRC's Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program.

The paper was published as a Viewpoint in JAMA on Oct. 11. Other co-authors are FIPRP Director Frederick Rivara, M.D., MPH, and FIPRP Research Coordinator Alex Bellenger. Read more from UW News.

Violence has complex, far-reaching impacts on health

A new paper by Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program researchers offers a broad, updated look at the interrelated impacts of violence on physical and mental health across age groups, from infants to elderly people.

The authors compiled recent compelling findings about health effects of child abuse, bullying, youth violence, adult interpersonal violence, and elder abuse, among others. The paper was published earlier this month in Health Affairs and presented by co-author and Research Scientist Brianna Mills, Ph.D., at a national briefing in Washington DC, available to view online.

Its authors represent the Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program, based at Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, including Director Fred Rivara, M.D., MPH, Co-Director Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, M.D., Ph.D., research fellow Avanti Adhia, Sc.D., trainee and doctoral candidate Vivian Lyons, MPH, trainee and doctoral candidate Anne Massey, MPH, Mills, trainee and doctoral student Erin Morgan, M.S., and doctoral candidate Maayan Simckes, MPH.

Event Calendar

Nov. 1, (Friday) 1-2 p.m. PST:  Journal Club – Violence Prevention with Christopher DeCou, Ph.D.

Nov. 11 (Monday):  University Holiday, HIRPC offices closed

Nov. 13, (Wednesday) 1 p.m. PST: Work-in-Progress: “PEGASUS Argentina Interventions" with Juan Manuel Martinez and Maria Alejandra Mejia

Nov. 20, (Wednesday) 1 p.m. PST: Work-in-Progress: “Connecting DOH IVP with HIPRC" with Katharine Flug, MPH
Nov. 28-29, (Thursday & Friday):  University Holiday, HIRPC offices closed
Dec. 6, (Friday) 1-2 p.m. PST:  Journal Club – Injury Care with Lynn Stansbury, M.D., MPH, MFA

Unless noted otherwise, all events take place at HIPRC offices. Remote options are available for some events - contact for details.

View the full calendar. 

Study explores mining injuries in Ghana

A new study examining injuries among gold miners in Ghana found that 26 percent of surveyed workers reported an injury in the past year, with higher risk of injury among those who worked in underground mines and in the informal mining sector. The most common causes of the recorded injuries were from equipment, slips, and falling from height. Globally, the mining industry contributes disproportionately to workplace injuries, and according to previous research, an estimated 90 percent of mining injuries occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The study was led by Emmanuel Kweku Nakua, Ph.D., of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana. Nakua is also a former Fogarty Fellow in global health at the University of Washington and Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. Co-authors include other researchers from KNUST, including Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Ph.D., Samuel Newton, Ph.D., Koranteng Adofo, Ph.D., Easmon Otupiri, Ph.D., and Dr. Peter Donkor, as well as HIPRC Global Injury section lead Charles Mock, M.D., Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Monica Vavilala confers with colleagues at Harborview Medical Center.
In the News
  • The Return to Learn Program for supporting students returning to school after a concussion, which is led by HIPRC Director Monica Vavilala, M.D., was featured on KIRO 7 and the UW Medicine Newsroom. Vavilala was also interviewed by Reuters in response to recent findings showing a decrease in concussions among U.S. high school athletes.
  • Research by trainee Erin Morgan, M.S., on older adults and firearm ownership and storage was featured in national coverage of a shooting threat by an older adult with dementia that led to them surrendering a large number of guns. The story was picked up by The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star, Fox Q13, KOMO News, ad others.
  • Core member and Harborview Medical Center Chief of Trauma Eileen Bulger, M.D., co-authored an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times on the need to bring a public health approach to gun violence. She was also quoted in coverage that the national Stop the Bleed campaign has trained more than one million individuals in first aid bleeding control techniques.

Funding Opportunities

NIH Loan Repayment Program
Application Deadline: Nov. 15, 2019
Requirements: Doctoral degree, conducting health disparities or clinical research in nonfederal research settings
The congressionally mandated NIMHD Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers loan repayment awards of up to $50,000 per year to health professionals with doctoral degrees (e.g., M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., Dr.P.H.). Awardees must conduct health disparities or clinical research in nonfederal research settings for at least two years. The program aims to increase the pool of highly qualified researchers who conduct health disparities research.

Other Opportunities 

Webinar: Violence and Health Briefing by Health Affairs
Presentations by authors featured in the latest issue of Health Affairs, including a talk by Research Scientist Brianna Mills, Ph.D. in HIPRC’s Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program.

MOOC: Impacting the Opioid Crisis: Prevention, Education, and Practice for Non-Prescribing Providers

A free online course on opioids designed for non-prescribing healthcare providers and interested students at the graduate level is now available from the University of Michigan. The course was designed by the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), Michigan-Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan OPEN) and the CDC-funded University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center.

Job Opportunity: Tenured Associate Professor at Boston University School of Social Work
Application Deadline Nov. 1, 2019

The BUSSW currently invites applications from midcareer academics with a commitment to research, scholarship and teaching in the field of community violence prevention and intervention in the U.S. and/or globally (e.g., neighborhood safety, gun-related violence, youth violence, suicide, child abuse, intimate partner violence, community mental health & trauma interventions) to join our faculty beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year as part of the School’s efforts to deepen its commitment to addressing this societal issue. Applicants’ research and scholarship may focus on exploring the causes and consequences of violence, developing and evaluating innovative community interventions, examining the role of social institutions/ systems (e.g., health, education, criminal justice, politics) in addressing violence, or other substantive contributions to the field.
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Harborview Injury and Prevention Research Center
401 Broadway
SeattleWA 98122

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