July 15, 2019

Researchers from the University of Washington received a $4.2 million federal grant to expand injury prevention research in the Northwest. The grant, awarded to UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC), will support injury prevention projects dealing with prescription opioid abuse, suicide, older adult falls, and pediatric concussion in Washington state and the region. 

An outreach component focused on health equity and injury will be led by Megan Moore, Sidney Miller Endowed Associate Professor in Direct Practice at the School of Social Work, and Dr. Beth Ebel, associate professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

“The grant provides an opportunity to achieve real impact in communities disproportionately impacted by injury and violence,” said Moore. “Our interdisciplinary teams, including community stakeholders from across the region, are focused on health equity in injury and will be working together to decrease injury risk and improve care in our communities.”

HIPRC is one of nine CDC-funded Injury Control Research Centers nationally and the only such designated center in the Pacific Northwest. The five-year federal grant will significantly support efforts to research injury and prevention, educate the next generation of injury prevention specialists, and translate findings into policies, programs and public outreach.

The grant focuses on four interdisciplinary research projects, led by HIPRC faculty. They are:

  • Prescription opioids, 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, 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, the Joanne Montgomery Endowed Professor in the UW School of Nursing.
  • Pediatric concussions, which researchers estimate impacted 16,000-29,000 Washington K-12 students in 2017. The project will be led by Vavilala.

In addition to a community research project, the grant will also support the center’s continuing work in research, education, and outreach around injury prevention and control in a wide range of topics led by collaborative “cores” of faculty and staff. In addition to Moore and Ebel’s participation in outreach, the research core will be led by Rowhani-Rahbar and the education core led by Dr. Fred Rivara, professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine.