Accidents happen, right? Conventional thinking often regards injuries as chance events, but the field of public health has adopted a different approach: treating injury as a disease that can be studied, managed and prevented.
Jefferson is at the forefront of this continuing shift. Under the leadership of Stanton Miller, MD, MPH, Jefferson recently secured a grant from the Public Health Fund, an affiliate of the Philadelphia-based Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC). The grant has helped launch the Jefferson Center for Injury Research and Prevention (JCIRP) – one of the nation’s first truly regional Injury Control Research Centers serving Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
“Jefferson is beautifully suited to make this happen,” Dr. Miller explains. “In addition to being the official medical school for the State of Delaware, we’re a member of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliances (DHSA) together with Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Christiana Care Health System and the University of Delaware.” All of those entities are participating in the JCIRP – a single entity with a unified governance structure and a mission to address any type of intentional and unintentional injury in society.
With decades of experience as a general surgeon, Dr. Miller became interested in injury control and prevention about 15 years ago when he began studying public health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“Injury prevention and control is the public health extension of a trauma surgeon,” he notes. “It’s so representative of this new era of healthcare. No longer can physicians simply treat disease. We’re now being held responsible for the maintenance of health, and surgeons are no exception.”
The JCIRP promotes interdisciplinary research, studying the issue of injury from numerous perspectives. As an example, Dr. Miller cites violence in society: “Certainly, you need to look at this issue from a medical and trauma point of view. But, ultimately, if you want to solve the problem, you need to take a sociological viewpoint and understand the social determinants of health.”
While medical research often occurs under microscopes, for the field of injury prevention and control, society is the “laboratory.” As such, Dr. Miller welcomes diverse collaborators for the JCIRP’s community-based research, which will study not just the acute phase of injury but also the long-term consequences, particularly among vulnerable populations. Post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans and abuse of children are just two potential topics of study.
“This Center will be a focal point for many in-the-trenches research projects aimed at improving lives in the communities we serve. We invite the participation of not only the professional healthcare community but of all stakeholders in the community,” concludes Dr. Miller.
If you have interest in research related to injury prevention and control, please contact Dr. Miller via email Stanton.Miller@jefferson.edu or phone 215-503-1016.
"Injury as a Disease: Jefferson Spearheads Regional Injury Control Research Center,"
Jefferson Surgical Solutions: Vol. 10
, Article 4.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/jss/vol10/iss1/4