Injury Prevention and Control

Course banner with photos left to right of EMT responding to a traffic crash, a firearm with bullets, and a bicycle helmet in a crosswalk

Fall 2023: Public Health Injury Prevention and Control

Public Health PH285a

2 units (3 units w/publishable paper) | Course #30019

Friday, 12pm - 2pm | Berkeley Way West 1212

Course Overview

Injury is the leading cause of death for ages 1- 44, and the leading cause of years of potential life lost up to age 65, surpassing heart disease and cancer, yet efforts to combat injury are limited in comparison to chronic disease prevention. Injury is defined as unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting from acute or chronic exposure to thermal, mechanical, electrical, or chemical energy, or from the absence of such essentials as heat or oxygen. Injuries occur as a result of occupational exposure, road traffic, firearms, violence, war, and self-inflicted causes.

This course combines essential skills and knowledge of the field of injury prevention followed by a focus on several key subject areas, examining current issues within each. A major course theme will be on road traffic injuries, with a focus on how injury patterns are influenced by societal health inequities and what injury prevention conducted in terms of community engagement and empowerment looks like. The course looks at injury control holistically and as a system where the concept of "accidental injury" is challenged. Several current trends associated with the COVID pandemic will be covered, such as increase in motor vehicle injuries, transportation occupational exposures, firearm deaths, and pedestrian deaths. 

Course activities include discussion and critique of key readings, web-based and observational assignments, and a short paper and presentation by each student on a mutually agreed injury topic. Both graduate and undergraduate students welcome, as well as students from public health and other campus academic areas. An extra unit is available for students who wish to prepare a paper for publication. Download Course PDF.

Course Aims

  • Review and critically examine data sources and research methods
  • Understand size and scope of the problem, social costs, financial burden
  • Review of methods of Injury Surveillance (ICD codes, measuring exposure, risk assessment)
  • Understand injury patterns through the lens of social and economic gradients and demographics, and injury prevention through the lens of community engagement and empowerment
  • Review and evaluate injury prevention strategies, with emphasis on system level approaches

Topics for Fall 2023

  • Overview (definition, scope of the burden of injury, sources of data, systems approach to injury prevention and control)
  • Motor vehicles (a leading cause of U.S. injury deaths)
  • Pedestrian, bicyclist, micromobility injury (critical issue in mode shift to walking, biking, micromobility)
  • Firearms (a leading cause of U.S. injury deaths, including homicide, suicide, and unintentional)
  • Occupational injury (social and economic impact, role of liability and workers’ compensation)


Glenn Shor, PhD, MPP,

CalOSHA, California Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (retired)
Continuing Lecturer, UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).