Injury Prevention and Control

Fall 2017 Public Health 285a Injury Prevention and Control Meets weekly on Friday, 2-4 pm, 2 units (3 units with a paper)

Instructors: David Ragland, Co-director, SafeTREC; Glenn Shor, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.


Injury is the leading cause of death for ages 1-44, and the leading cause of years of potential life lost to age 70, surpassing heart disease and cancer. The general topic of injury is very diverse, including unintentional and intentional injury. The semester will begin with an overview of the field of injury followed by a focus on several specific subject areas, examining current issues within those subject areas.  A systems approach to injury prevention will be emphasized throughout. Course activities include discussion based on key readings, web-based and observational assignments, and a paper and presentation at the end of the semester. An extra-unit is available for students who wish to prepare a paper for publication.


  • Unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting  from acute exposure to thermal, mechanical, electrical, or chemical energy or from the absence of such essentials as heat or oxygen.
  • Leading cause of death for ages 1-44, and leading cause of potential years of life to age 70.


  • Knowledge and understanding of injuries as a major public health problem. (size and scope of the problem, social costs of injury, financial burden to health care system).
  • Understanding of methods and approaches in injury epidemiology (measuring exposure, risk assessment, models of accidents and injury).
  • Understanding of current methods and approaches of controlling injuries, with an emphasis on systems approaches.


  • Overview (Definition, scope of the burden of injury, sources of data)
  • Motor vehicles (a leading cause of U.S. injury deaths)
  • Pedestrian and bicyclist Injury (critical issue for mode shift to walking and biking)
  • Firearms (a leading cause of U.S. injury deaths)
  • Occupational injury (social and economic impact, role of worker's compensation)
  • Global impact of injury (traffic injury, injury from military/political conflict)

Each of these topics, in addition to being of great importance in their own right, illustrate the role of data and information in understanding injury as well as the major approaches to injury prevention.


  1. Readings, attendance, and participation in class
  2. Class exercises
  3. Class project: Brief paper on a current injury incident; PowerPoint presentation summarizing the paper. (Optional, one credit): Extended paper in style of publishable manuscript.