News and Research Reports 2005

Research 2005

Highlights of 2004-2005 Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HICRC) May 2005

Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HICRC) has been extremely active in its eighth year of operation (2005-2006) in the areas of research, training, dissemination, and fundraising. Highlights of Year 8 activities include:

A.  Additional Projects

    • YouthViolencePreventionCenter:  HICRC is in first year of a new five-year grant from CDC as an AcademicCenter for Excellence.  The mission of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center (HYVPC) is to work collaboratively to build community capacity for youth violence prevention in Boston.  We are in the process of creating a multi-layered surveillance system for youth violence in Boston, which will include a biennial city-wide, representative in-class survey of Boston high school students (BYS), a biennial city-wide, representative phone survey of neighborhood adults (BNS), and a GIS data mapping system that will assemble data already collected by the police, public health commission, census, etcetera and allow us to contextualize BYS & BNS findings.  The HYVPC now works with 11 Grassroots Community Partners (e.g. Ten-Point Coalition; Louis D. Brown Peace Institute; South Boston Community Health Center) and multiple key Boston institutions (e.g. the Boston Mayor’s Office; Boston Public Schools; Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston Police Department; Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and The Boston Foundation) to reduce youth violence in Boston.
      • Books on Violence Prevention:  Between 2003-2005, HYVPC Co-Directors competed and published three books on violence prevention: (1) Deborah Prothrow-Stith & Howard Spivak’s Murder is No Accident:  Understanding and Prevention Youth Violence in America (NY:Wiley, 2003), describing the role of community mobilization in helping to reduce youth violence in Boston;(2) David Hemenway’s Private Guns Public Health (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2004), summarizing the scientific literature on the relationship between guns and violence and explaining the public health approach to reducing gun violence; and (3) Deborah Prothrow-Stith & Howard Spivak’s Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice: Preventing Violence Among Girls (NY: Jossey-Bass 2005), discussing ways to reduce violent behavior by girls.
      • National Violent Injury Statistics System (NVISS):  HICRC has continued to serve as the Coordinating Center for the pilot National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) with funding from six national foundations:  Joyce, Soros, Packard, MacArthur, Annie Casey, and Atlantic Philanthropies. Our ten funded sites are submitting consistent and comparable information on all suicides, homicides, and unintentional firearm deaths.  NVDRS efforts have been lauded by the National Academy of Sciences reports on suicide (Suicide Prevention and Institute of Medicine 2001) and firearms and violence (Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Research Council 2000).  Funding for this project ends in 2006.  Many publications using data from the NVISS are being written.
        Update:  In 2006, HICRC obtained a subcontract with Research Triangle Institute to provide technical assistance to them on a contract with CDC to improve the National Violent Death Reporting System. This work will bein two areas:  1) developing a module to collect additional information on intimate partner violence-related homicides and 2) surveying forensic toxicology laboratories that serve NVDRS jurisdictions on their methods for screening victims of violent death for the presence of alcohol, drugs of abuse, and psychotropic medications.

Update:  The paperback version of Private Guns Public Health will be released in September of 2006.

    • Firearms Research Team:  With funding from the Joyce foundation, HICRC organized a firearm research team that includes David Hemenway, Matthew Miller, Deborah Azrael, and Lisa Hepburn.  This team has published more than 50 articles on firearms since CDC funded the Center in 1998.  In 2004, with Joyce foundation funding, HICRC sponsored a national random-digit-dial telephone survey of 2800 adults on firearm issues.  Many journal articles are currently being written, using these data.  Update: The Joyce foundation awarded another grant to this Firearms Research Team for 2005-07.
    • Kids in the Back:  Working with the Education Development Center (EDC), HICRC conducted an intervention-evaluation to promote rear seating of children in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  The success of that project enabled EDC and HICRC to obtain addition funding from CDC to attempt a similar program in Brockton, MA.  That project is currently underway and evaluation should occur in 2006-07.
    • Youth Suicide Prevention Training:  HICRC has funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to provide “distance learning” training on youth suicide prevention.  Led by Cathy Barber and Deb Stone, we developed a website for interactive learning: the National Center for Suicide Prevention Training ( HICRC also developed three CEU-conferring courses offered on the site.  Over 1,200 participants from all 50 states and seven countries have participated. In 2004, HICRC received an additional grant from HRSA to create two additional web courses.  Update:  The website was highlighted in a supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2006.
    • Evaluation of Homicide Review Commission:  The City of Milwaukee is assembling a working team of professionals charged with developing a multi-level, multi-agency homicide review process.  HICRC, led by Deborah Azrael, has funding from the National Institute of Justice to evaluate this innovative approach to reducing homicide.

B.  Training Activities

  • HICRC continued to sponsor a well-attended (average attendance 45) Monthly Seminar Series featuring leading injury experts on topics of central interest to public health faculty, researchers and students and community collaborators and providers. (See Seminar Page for a list of seminar presenters)
  • HICRC sponsors five highly-rated HSPH courses on injury and violence prevention: (1) Principles of Injury Control; (2) American Violence: the Intersection of Home and Street;  (3) Intimate Partner Violence; (4) Injury Epidemiology; and a new course to be offered in Fall 2006, (5) Suicide and Self-Harm.
  • Each year, HICRC faculty help teach the Harvard Medical School course on injury prevention
  • HICRC provided funding or stipends for six masters and doctoral students working on injury prevention topics.
  • HICRC continues to help support the dissemination to physicians of violence prevention resources, an effort sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society.  This year, the medical society released new editions of its Violence Intervention and Prevention program, including new materials concerning child sexual abuse prevention and child gun safety.  In support of this release – and in response to intense public interest in violence prevention resulting from an increase in youth homicide in Boston – Robert Sege, MD, has supported the Medical Society effort through multiple appearances on local cable television and radio.
  • HICRC continued training on intimate partner violence (IPV) in Greece and the European Union (EU).  Angela Browne helped develop an IPV training module for use by physicians and nurses in emergency departments in Greece and conducted training in Greece on its use.  The module was adopted by the relevant EU Directorate General (DAPHNE) and piloted in Greece and three other EU countries.  Update: In fall of 2005, Dr. Browne presented on screening for interpersonal violence for EU New Member States and CandidateStates, and WHO Europe, and Mary Vriniotis presented on the creation of the NVDRS.
  • HICRC continues to support the Northeast Injury Prevention Network (NIPN) of injury practitioners in state health departments in a variety of ways.  For example, this year, HICRC spoke about findings from the 2004 Boston Youth Survey at one of the quarterly meeting of NIPN.  At another meeting we distributed the final version of our report that summarizes our findings regarding why (youth) suicide rates in the northern New England states are markedly higher than those in other states in the region.  We also presented two sessions at the regional suicide prevention conference sponsored by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.  In addition, we distributed to NIPN members (at their request) a series of analyses we conducted on the recent increase of hanging suicides among youths and middle-aged adults.  We have been invited to present this information at the Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference in April 2006.  Update: This spring, HICRC and NIPN are con-sponsoring a training and strategy session for regional Injury Prevention Directors and Poison Control Educators on the recent rise in unintentional opiod overdoses.
  • HICRC also works with individual state health departments in our region.  For example, in the fall of 2005, HICRC provided a half-day coding and implementation training to Massachusetts on the National Violent Death Reporting System.  For New Hampshire, we assisted in designing the evaluation plan for their “CALM” trainings.  These are trainings for mental health providers on how to talk with suicidal patients and their families about removing or securing guns and medications in the household.
  • Since September, 2004, HICRC has provided space, support and training for two new two-year minority post-doctoral Yerby fellows: (1) Renee Johnson (PhD, University of North Carolina); and (2) Glendene Lemard (PhD, University of Miami). Recent publications by these fellows include: Johnson RM, Miller M, Vriniotis M, Azrael D, Hemenway D. “Are household firearms stored less safely in homes with adolescents?” – Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, in press; and Lemard G, Hemenway D. “Violence in Jamaica” –  Injury Prevention 2006; 12:15-18.
  • Every summer, HYVPC provides space and training for a minority college intern selected by the Harvard Medical School Health Policy Summer Program.  This ten-week mentored summer research experience is designed to expose undergraduate students to the field of public health.  In the summer of 2005, HYVPC had two interns – Macaela Baynard and Henry Smart – who worked on a variety of projects including reprisal homicides in Jamaica and suicides among U.S. war veterans.  Both Macaela and Henry are continuing to analyze these data for use in senior theses and other school projects.

C.  Dissemination Activities

      • HICRC updates its website bi-weekly.  Simply type HICRC in Google to reach the site.  Update:  A continuing feature of the HICRC website is “success stories in injury prevention.”  Every two weeks, HICRC highlights, in a couple of paragraphs, an historical success story from the injury field.  By the end of our grant period, we should have over 50 examples of such successes.  These are required reading in HICRC’s Principles of Injury Control course, and will be incorporated into a book on injury prevention by HICRC Director David Hemenway.
      • HYVPC has its own linked website, enhancing our ability to feature youth violence prevention information, research findings, and relevant links. (See
      • HICRC Core Faculty spoke about injury prevention at scores of grand rounds, classes, conferences, colloquia and meetings around the country, including the American Public Health Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the Westminster forum.  Of interest were David Hemenway’s various meetings in Hollywood, including separate meetings with writers for Law & Order, ER, and CSI-Miami; and Angela Browne’s presentations on the importance of screening for interpersonal violence for new member states of the European Union (EU), candidate states, and the World Health Organization-Europe in October 2005.
      • Publications by HICRC core faculty received press locally, nationally, and internationally
      • HICRC core faculty engage in many activities that help advance the injury field.  For example, David Hemenway sits on the executive committee for SAVIR (Society for Violence and Injury Research), which is changing from as association of twelve injury centers into an association of hundreds of injury researchers.  David Clark is an active member of the AmericanCollege of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS/COT), involved with improving data quality in the National Trauma Data Bank.  Angela Browne conducts trainings for the Secretary of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice and provides advice to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Office of Juvenile Justice Programs on violence perpetration for juveniles and adults, interventions, policy, and practice. HICRC also supports consultation with Massachusetts and Boston government agencies. Angela Browne is a Governor’s appointee on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee for the State of Massachusetts; Angela Browne and Deborah Azrael are working with the City of Boston to create a comprehensive surveillance system for youth violence.  Robert Sege provides technical advice on pediatric injury prevention to the state Public Health Department and Attorney General‘s office, and Boston’s Public Health Commission.  Beth Molnar is an appointed member of the Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advising the commission on data and evaluation issues.

D. Service

E.  Research Activities

Since the fall of 1998, HICRC core faculty published three books and over 180 journal articles.  Update:  Between January 2005 and March 2006, HICRC Core Faculty had published or accepted 33 peer-reviewed journal articles plus a variety of chapters, editorials, and book reviews.

Highlights of 2004-2005 Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HICRC) May 2005

Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HICRC) has been extremely active in its eighth year of operation (2005-2006) in the areas of research, training, dissemination, and fundraising. Click here for a listing of the Year 8 Highlights.


2004 Boston Youth Survey Report Officially Released
HYVPC is pleased to announce the official joint release of the Report of the 2004 Boston Youth Survey with the City of Boston’s Office of Human Services. The release of this report represents a major milestone in the long-term collaboration between researchers at the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center and city officials from the Office of Human Services and Boston Centers for Youth and Families. For full details about the survey and to download the report, visit the Boston Youth Survey page on the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center website.

Yerby Fellow Renee M. Johnson Wins APHA ICEHS Best Paper Award
Renee M. Johnson, Alonzo Yerby Post-Doctoral Fellow at HICRC, is the recipient of the Best Paper Award in the student paper competition from the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services (ICEHS) Section of the American Public Health Association. Based on her dissertation research, the paper “Storage of household firearms: An examination of women’s attitudes and beliefs” will be submitted for publication shortly. Renee will also present her findings at the APHA annual conference in Philadelphia (Session 3113.0: Monday December 12, 11AM)

Second Edition of Injury Prevention and Public Health Published
Co-authored by HICRC Advisory Board Chair Susan Scavo Gallagher and Tom Christoffel, “Injury Prevention and Public Health: Practical Knowledge, Skills, and Strategies” has been updated and published as a second edition. From the back cover: “It is the first book I recommend to students or public health pracitioners for an introdution to the field of injury control. -David Hemenway” The book also include a Foreword by Dr. Hemenway. For more information, visit Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

HPH NOW Features Yerby Fellow Glendene Lemard
The April 15th 2005 edition of the bi-weekly news bulletin for the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Public Health NOW, featured HICRC Yerby Fellow Glendene Lemard. Glendene was interviewed about her research on homicide in her homeland of Jamaica, and her upcoming violence-prevention work in Guyana, which will be funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. More information at: Harvard Public Health NOW