Annual 2020 CCISP Symposium Attracts Record Attendance

View the full symposium agenda and selected slides.

The 2020 Annual Columbia Center for Injury Science and Prevention (CCISP) Symposium, “Science in Service to Safety”, was held virtually by webinar on Thursday, May 21, 2020. The Center Director, Dr. Charles Branas, welcomed more than 160 attendees to this year’s violence-focused symposium.

A conference highlight included the keynote address titled “Mass Shootings: What We Know and Why It Matters” delivered by renowned professor and author of Rampage Nation, Lou Klarevas.

Dr. Sonali Rajan, faculty at Teacher’s College and Mailman SPH, moderated a lightning round on Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs): Issues and contributing factors. Her session included presentations on cognitive control performance and fMRI correlates that vary by ACEs in children, ACEs and criminality, child maltreatment, gender and sensation seeking trajectories, an examination of the proportion of US deaths attributable to ACES, and gun violence prevention through amplifying the voice of urban youth.

Several CCISP partners and collaborators provided updates from their organizations. Of particular interest to attendees was an update from Lauren Paterno of AAA Northeast who announced a new high school curriculum on teen marijuana use and driving developed in a AAA collaboration with Brown University. Originally developed to be delivered in the classroom, the curriculum has now been adapted for on-line virtual delivery. Preliminary evaluations using a pre-post test format have shown a dramatic change in the proportion of teens who recognize the dangers that driving after smoking marijuana poses.


The symposium’s traditional lunch topic roundtables were held via of zoom breakout sessions using gallery mode so that roundtable attendees could network “face-to-face”. Several attendees requested to continue the networking on a regular basis post conference. The evaluation form provided space for attendees to enroll in post conference networking virtual zoom meetings. Approximately 80% completing the evaluation survey said they would like to continue to network with roundtables. The proportion of those who said they would like to continue to network via of roundtables by table topic were: gun violence/firearms (79%), transportation safety (68%), older adult falls (65%), adolescent depression/suicide (62%), ACES (59%), and overdose (54%).

These are expected to begin in August and September.

The six breakout topics included:

  1. Adverse and positive childhood experiences (led by Sonali Rajan/Virginia Rauh)    
  2. Adolescent depression/suicide  (led by Katherine Keyes)
  3. Gun violence and advances in firearm safety (led by Kara Rudolph and Pina Violano)
  4. Advances and challenges in transportation safety (Led by Michael Bauer and Joyce Pressley)
  5. Drug overdose   (led by Silvia Martins)
  6. Older adult falls   (led by Thelma Mielenz)                   

Future Symposium Format Suggestions

Attendees were asked about their preferences for the format of future symposiums. Surprisingly, only 19% indicated a preference for an in-person only format. Nearly 38% reported a preference for in-person (19%) or a blended in-person and virtual format (19%). Two-thirds reported a preference for a virtual format– either using zoom (48%) or a blended in-person and virtual format (19%). Several respondents reported lack of travel funds to come to the symposium and said the virtual format allowed them to attend.

Outreach Director, Dr. Joyce Pressley, worked with the CCISP outreach team and core faculty to organize and moderate the symposium. The symposium was co-sponsored by CCISP in the Department of Epidemiology and the Columbia University Seminar in Injury Prevention and Control.