Experts Translate Research into Effective Prevention

New Tools Offered to Translate Injury Research into Effective Prevention

Charles Branas, PhD, the new chair of the epidemiology department at Columbia University shares his study showing how “a place” can matter when it comes to violence prevention.

Public health professionals from around the region have new tools in their repertoire for translating injury research into effective prevention. Bullying and youth suicide, the contributions stable safe communities can add to violence and suicide prevention, a data driven approach to saving lives when it comes to motor vehicle safety, ways to address the opioid epidemic, and a detailed look at what we might learn from assaults against US law enforcement officers in the line-of duty were topics addressed by experts in each respected field of study during the 5th Annual Translating Injury Research into Effective Prevention Symposium of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University held in New York.

The annual Symposium offers the opportunity for health care and community workers to meet injury prevention colleagues, network and learn the cutting-edge and best practices in injury control and prevention. Close to 75 people attended the meeting this year and no one left without pausing to think including those presenting.

Northshore University hospital Trauma Surgeon Ormar Bholat, said bringing together people with multiple points of view, discussing the issues at hand and having the opportunity to come up with solutions to complex problems is great.

“Every time you get a fresh set of eyes on something there is the potential to come up with a new and innovative way of solving it. I think just about every presenter said I had not considered that I will go back to my data and look at that. Maybe that’s something people just say, but I believe that for these people it is something they are going to do,” Dr. Bholat continued.

He concluded by saying its great to be an epidemiologist but there is a layer of separation there and getting the doctors and health care professionals to come together gives a whole new point of view and I think that’s helpful. It is a sentiment share by many others.

Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, the winner of this year’s Jess Kraus award for best paper in Injury Epidemiology for her research on injuries among law enforcement officers agreed. “I liked t he range of topics. It was a good breadth of Injury topics, but then there was the application how was this research is being translated into something that’s going to make an impact,” she said. “That’s what’s important to us so it was great to have a whole day of that.”

Gail Lynah, RN, a clinical nurse instructor at Bellevue Hospital Center attended for the second year and brought colleagues. “We tend to work in silos sometimes and this touches on so many aspects that I wouldn’t normally think about. We got a wealth of information in a short time period,” she says. She said she learn things that would be helpful professionally but she was most impressed with things she learned that she could use in her personal life as well. She said she travels down Queens Blvd, “the Blvd of death” everyday and that she recognized the changes made that were presented in the NYC’s Data Driven Approach to Saving Lives presentation and that gave her a whole new perspective what took place.

Even the experts learned how they might assist in impacting the work done by each other. Madelyn Gould, PhD who spoke on suicide and bullying said work done on the development of green spaces and safe places by Gelman Professor and Department of Epidemiology Chair Charles Branas could greatly impact her work on suicide prevention.

All of the presentations are available on the Center’s website at:


Guohua Li, MD, DrPH
M. Finster Professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology
Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University
722 West 168th Street, Rm 524
New York NY USA 10032

Research on Police Assaults Awarded

Jess Kraus Award Winner Acknowledged

Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH receives Kraus Award from Injury Epidemiology Editor Guohua Li, MD, DrPH

Assistant Professor and Researcher Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health accepted this year’s Jess Kraus Award on behalf of her colleagues Keisha Pollack, PhD, MPH and Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH. The award was presented May 25, 2017, at the 5th annual Columbia University Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Symposium, Translating Injury Research into Effective Prevention. The award is given annually to acknowledge the best paper published in the journal Injury Epidemiology. Their paper, “Assaults against US. law enforcement officers in the line-of duty,” was selected by the journal’s editorial board based on its novelty, simplicity, clarity and potential impact on population health.

“Much of the existing literature on assaults against law enforcement officers (LEOs) has focused on fatal assaults. But we know that for each fatality, there are many more assaults that result in injury but not death,” Dr. Crifasi explained. “The goal of this study was to examine differences in characteristics between fatal and nonfatal assaults to determine which characteristics increased the odds that an assault would be fatal.”

Because evidence in previous literature suggests traffic stops are dangerous for LEOs, Dr. Crifasi and her colleagues expected to see an increased likelihood in assaults resulting in fatalities when LEOs were conducting traffic stops. They also expected to see an increased likelihood for assaults in situations where LEOs were responding to domestic disturbances, because they are regularly cited by law enforcement as dangerous situations. Those calls did not increase the odds of a fatality. They were surprised to find higher odds for LEOs becoming victims of homicide when they were ambushed or experienced an unprovoked attack. Those were times when they were caught off guard or had limited opportunity to defend themselves. She presented her findings upon receiving the award.

Dr. Crifasi says receiving the award means a great deal to her. “It is a really big honor,” she said. “This is work that I have been doing for a few years so just getting the paper published was exciting and then getting the award with my co-authors took it to another level. I feel really proud of the work we’re doing. It is just a really high honor.”

Professor Jess F. Kraus, PhD, MPH, is a pioneer in injury research. He has been appointed and elected to many professional societies, organizations and groups. Has served as a member of the Motor Vehicle Safety Research Advisory Committee of the US Department of Transportation and the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Panel on Accident Prevention. In addition he has conducted studies on motorcycle crashes, pedestrian injuries, work-related trauma and brain and spinal cord injuries. He nearly 200 publications. He also teaches three graduate courses on injury epidemiology and supervises both PhD and Masters students at UCLA.

Her presentation and others from the symposium can be reviewed by going to:


Guohua Li, MD, DrPH
M. Finster Professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology
Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University
722 West 168th Street, Rm 524
New York NY USA 10032

5th Annual Conference, May 25, 2017

17Innovations in Translating Injury Research into Effective Prevention

Thursday, May 25, 2017
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM 

Columbia University
722 West 168th Street, 8th Floor Auditorium
New York, NY 10032

Register Now Online

Preliminary Agenda

Come meet injury prevention colleagues, network and learn cutting-edge and best practices in injury control and prevention. The morning keynote speaker is Dr. Charles Branas, new chair of the epidemiology department at Columbia University and an expert on injury and violence prevention. The afternoon keynote speaker is Dr. Cassandra Crifasi, winner of the Jess Kraus Award in Injury Epidemiology in 2016 for her research on injuries among law enforcement officers.

During a complimentary lunch and networking breaks discuss your questions and injury prevention issues on road safety, prescription drugs, trauma center verification, violence and other topics.

Please make plans to join us.


Guohua Li, DrPH, MD
Professor and Director

Barbara Barlow, MD
Professor Emeritus & Associate Director

Advanced Methods and Designs Applied in Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, May 24, 2017

PRE-EPIC: May 24, 2017 // 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM

This course will introduce students to contemporary analytic methods and innovative designs applied to injury epidemiology and the science of prevention. The course will be taught by accomplished researchers and experienced instructors, and will combine lectures with interactive discussions. Selected readings will ground students and build on the course material presented. Speakers will differ each year covering advanced analytic issues in injury research as well as advanced research designs for multifaceted approaches to injury prevention and reduction. The title, speakers and several objectives are updated each year to reflect the specific topics covered. These applied topics will include both unintentional and intentional injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drug overdose, child abuse, youth violence, self-harm and assault.

The applied topics in injury research for 2017, include: 1) Complex Systems Approaches; 2) Application of the Decomposition Method; and 3) Implementation Theories, Frameworks and Designs.


  • Thelma Mielenz, PT, PhD, MS, OCS
  • Guohua Li, MD, DrPH
  • Melissa Tracy, PhD


By the end of the course, participants will be able to

  • Define IS and related terminologies
  • Discuss methodologies used in IS
  • Formulate an IS question
  • Discuss the benefits of IS and its role in public health programs



Visit for a full list of courses offered in EPIC 2017


2017 Injury Cluster Seminars

(Download printable PDF)


All of the seminars listed below will be held from 12:00-1:00 pm in the Hammer Health Sciences Building (701 West 168th Street, Rm LL 208-B). Lunch will be served.

JANUARY 19, 2017
The influence of firearm legislation on violence: Evidence from U.S. and international studies
Julian Santaella, DrPH Student
DrPH Candidate, Epidemiology Department, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

FEBRUARY 2, 2017
Does child maltreatment predict sensation seeking trajectories?
Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD
Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

MARCH 23, 2017
The transmission of violence within social networks
Melissa Tracy, PhD
SUNY Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Albany-SUNY

APRIL 27, 2017
Environmental justice, traffic safety, and street design: Preliminary results from New York City’s Neighborhood Slow Zones
Jonas Hagen, PhD Student
PhD Candidate, NSF IGERT Fellow, PhD Program in Urban Planning; Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Columbia University

MAY 1, 2017
Where do bike lanes work best? Using spatial epidemiology methods to improve road safety in our cities
Christopher Morrison, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn Injury Science Center, University of Pennsylvania