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Release: Oct. 21, 2002

UI Injury Prevention Research Center receives $4.5 million in renewed funding

The University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) was recently notified of continuation of funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The successful grant application to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control will result in $4.5 million over five years.

Traumatic injury is a leading public health problem in the United States, with injuries being the principal cause of death among persons ages 1 through 44. Since 1990, the IPRC has been working to reduce the public health burden of injuries, focusing on rural injury prevention.

"Iowans are at increased risk for unintentional injuries compared to persons living in more urban states," said Craig Zwerling, M.D., Ph.D., director of the IPRC and professor and head of occupational and environmental health. "The Injury Prevention Research Center here at the University of Iowa is a national leader in researching ways to reduce the high number of preventable injuries that occur in rural communities." Zwerling noted that that the IPRC is considered a world leader in bringing medical and public health researchers together with engineers to utilize advanced driving simulation technologies to examine injury prevention strategies.

The IPRC is located in the UI College of Public Health's department of occupational and environmental health. It is one of 11 CDC-funded Centers of Excellence in Injury Control Research. Serving as a national resource for rural injury prevention, the center provides information and educational programs in injury prevention and promotes development of public policies to prevent and control injuries. John Lundell, IPRC deputy director, heads the outreach efforts that promote and advocate injury prevention in Iowa and the Midwest.

Faculty and staff from 16 departments within the UI Colleges of Public Health, Medicine, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences conduct research in the center. The IPRC has also developed a strong working relationship with the UI department of surgery and the Trauma Center at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Carol Scott-Conner, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor and head of surgery, foresees even more opportunities for collaboration:

"The establishment of a department in emergency medicine within the Carver College of Medicine will provide excellent opportunities to partner with colleagues in the IPRC to address the prevention and treatment of traumatic injuries," Scott-Conner said. She credits the IPRC with helping the hospital achieve its Level One Trauma Center verification status.

Research projects based in the IPRC include: evaluating emergency medical services within Iowa (principal investigator James Torner, Ph.D., UI department of epidemiology); comparing the effectiveness of various types of smoke detectors (principal investigator Corinne Peek-Asa, Ph.D., UI department of occupational and environment health); examining risk-taking behavior of children using a bicycling simulator (principal investigator Jodie Plumert, Ph.D., UI department of psychology); and studying the driving abilities of persons with sleep apnea syndrome (principal investigator Matthew Rizzo, M.D., UI department of neurology).

In addition to supporting research, the IPRC also offers undergraduate and graduate students courses in injury control.