Injury Prevention and Control

Photo collage showing emergency responders at a car crash, a gun with ammunition, and a crashed bicycle and bicycle helmet in a crosswalk


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. 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.

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 areas. A major course theme will be 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. Several current trends associated with the COVID pandemic will be covered, such as increase in domestic violence, 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 at the end of the semester. An extra unit is available for students who wish to prepare a paper for publication (guidance provided). Both graduate and undergraduate students welcome, as well as students from public health and all other campus academic areas.


  • 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


  • Overview (definition, scope of the burden of injury, sources of data, systems approach to injury prevention and control)
  • 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)
  • Motor vehicles (a leading cause of U.S. injury deaths)
  • Pedestrian, bicyclist, micromobility injury (critical issue in mode shift to walking, biking, micromobility)
  • Domestic violence

David Ragland, PhD, MPH
Co-Director, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC)
UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Glenn Shor, PhD, MPP

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

Lisa Peterson, MPH
Communications Manager, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC)
UC Berkeley School of Public Health