A $4.2 million grant to UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC) will support projects focused on prescription-opioid abuse, suicide, older adult falls, and pediatric concussion in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.
The five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes eight other injury-research centers in the United States. The funding will support investigators, train additional injury-prevention specialists, and translate findings into policies, programs and public outreach.
“With this federal support comes a clear mandate to continue and expand our mission of injury prevention and health equity in the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” said Dr. Monica Vavilala, HIPRC’s director and a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We have found significant injury and outcome disparities associated with geography, socioeconomic class, race and ethnicity and other factors. Our goal will be to better understand these disparities and promote equity.”
The grant will fund research of four topics:
- 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 Dr. Mark Sullivan, 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 Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, 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 U.S. adults over age 65. This project will be led by Hilaire Thompson, a professor in the UW School of Nursing.
- Pediatric concussions, estimated by HIPRC researchers to have affected as many as 29,000 Washington grade-school students in 2017. Vavilala will lead the research, focused on when injured students should appropriately return to the classroom.
HIPRC was founded in 1985 with a mission to reduce the burden of injury through research, education and outreach. Partnerships between HIPRC and universities, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations have led to injury-prevention projects on car booster-seat use, distracted driving, bicycle-helmet use, window-fall prevention, and other topics.