Accepting Applications: 2018-19 Injury & Violence Prevention Fellowships

The UNC’s Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) has launched its 2018-19 Injury and Violence Prevention (IVP) Fellowship Program! IPRC is a national leader in recruiting and educating the next generation of IVP researchers and practitioners. This is an exciting opportunity for masters and doctoral students from diverse academic, professional, and demographic backgrounds to gain hands-on experience in IVP, including skills in a broad range of methodological approaches for IVP-related research, programs, and policy design; and translating research to practice for policymakers, health care providers, community organizations, and other partners in IVP.

IVP Fellows work with IPRC-affiliated faculty mentors to identify opportunities to get experience conducting IVP-related research, programming, or policy. The fellowship will provide $3,000 per year to support travel, conference and meeting attendance, and other professional development or training opportunities. Limited, additional funding may be available for specific activities or opportunities on an ad hoc basis.

Students from a wide-range of disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Click here for more information about how to apply. Applications are due August 31, 2018.

Attorney General Stein’s Visit

Attorney General Stein is conducting a series of college tours across the state to discuss key issues important to North Carolina’s students. The tour connects  Attorney General Stein the opportunity to speak directly to college students, educators and administrative officials about issues that are prevalent on college

campuses. These discussions will highlight and contribute to the conversations happening on campuses among students and officials and educate communities about resources available to them. The panels will bring together experts from a variety of fields, including administration, law enforcement, advocacy, and research, among others, to discuss current challenges and promising solutions.

At each college, Attorney General Stein will hold panel conversations with local, university, and NCDOJ experts on three key issues:

  • Student loans
  • Sexual assault
  • Substance misuse

New to the Road Safety Field? Apply Now for HSRC’s Free Course on Road Safety Fundamentals

Join transportation professionals from across the country for an in-depth study of the fundamentals of road safety. Presented by the Road Safety Academy of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, Road Safety 101 is a free online course designed for individuals new to transportation-related fields. It is based on the NCHRP 17-40 Model Curriculum for Highway Safety Core Competencies.

After completing this course, students will understand the basics of developing and implementing successful, collaborative road safety programs. Students will gain a better understanding of road safety data collection, analysis, and evaluation.

Who: Transportation, public health, planning, engineering, and law enforcement professionals interested in building core knowledge in road safety
When: March 8 through April 26 (weekly online sessions on Thursdays, 1:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time)
Application deadline: February 9 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (see “Applications” below for more)
More Information: Contact Dan Gelinne (gelinne@hsrc.unc.edu, 919-962-8703)

Applications
Road Safety 101 is ideally suited for professionals working in the United States or Canada who are new to road safety and are just starting out in transportation-related jobs. This includes transportation planners, engineers, public health professionals, policy makers, and educators. Enrollment is limited to 25 students.

To apply, please complete the brief course application (rsa.unc.edu/documents/RoadSafety101_Application.docx) and submit it as an email attachment to Dan Gelinne (gelinne@hsrc.unc.edu, 919-962-8703) by Friday, February 9.
Students will be notified by February 16 if they are selected to participate.

Course Structure and Schedule
The course will primarily consist of weekly two-hour interactive online sessions, along with roughly one hour of independent work and reading to be completed outside of class per week. Weekly sessions will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 PM Eastern Time on Thursday afternoons. Course instructors include researchers based at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, as well as experts from outside organizations and guest speakers representing a variety of perspectives on road safety. In addition to lectures and guest speakers, classes will feature interactive discussions and student-led instruction based on work performed outside of class.

Schedule Overview:

  • March 8 – Course Orientation
  • March 15 – Lesson 1: Foundations of Road Safety
  • March 22 – Lesson 2: Measuring Safety
  • March 29 – Lesson 3: Solving Safety Problems (Part I)
  • April 5 – Lesson 4: Solving Safety Problems (Part II)
  • April 12 – Lesson 5: Human Behavior and Road Safety
  • April 19 – Lesson 6: Safe Systems
  • April 26 – The Future of Road Safety

UNC Highway Safety Research Center seeking applications for $1,000 scholarship

(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) ─ The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center announced today that it is accepting applications for the 2018 Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship.

The $1,000 scholarship is open to students who will be working toward a master’s degree at any of the University of North Carolina campuses in fall 2018. (This includes students in the first several years of a combined master’s/Ph.D. program.) Candidates will be asked to contribute a 500-1,000 word essay exploring how their field of study could be used to prevent motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries on North Carolina roads. Candidates will also be evaluated on academic performance, extracurricular and professional activities, and work experience.

Named in memory of HSRC staff member Megan Cornog, the purpose of the scholarship is to foster the education and professional development of graduate students with an interest in transportation safety-related areas, including, but not limited to, engineering, driver behavior, planning, public health and environment.

Megan died Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010, at her home in Carrboro, N.C., after a courageous battle with cancer. After earning her master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2009, Megan began her career working as a project coordinator for HSRC, focusing on pedestrian and bicycle issues.

The scholarship was established in 2006 and is awarded annually. HSRC most recently awarded the scholarship in 2017 to Jonathan Holt and Detective Justin Stirewalt. Both Holt and Stirewalt are pursuing master’s degrees in public administration at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government.

The deadline for applications is April 2, 2018. The scholarship recipient(s) will be announced in June 2018. Complete application and submission details can be found at www.hsrc.unc.edu/scholarship.

Congratulations to Belinda-Rose Young, Elected to the Society for Public Health Education 2018-19 Board of Trustees!

WASHINGTON, DC  – The Society for Public Health Education, Inc. (SOPHE) congratulates Belinda-Rose Young elected to the SOPHE 2018-19 Board of Trustees. She will be inducted with nine other newly elected officers and begins her term of office on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, during the All Member Business Meeting at SOPHE’s 69th Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

Belinda-Rose Young, MSPH, CPH, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Research Assistant with the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center will serve a one-year term as SOPHE Student Trustee.  The SOPHE Board of Trustees is elected by the SOPHE membership and is the legal and fiduciary body responsible for the organization.

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a 501 (c)(3) professional organization founded in 1950 to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion.  SOPHE contributes to the health of all people and the elimination of health disparities through advances in health education theory and research; excellence in professional preparation and practice; and advocacy for public policies conducive to health.  For more information, see www.sophe.org

The Power of Science and Practice Integration

One of the most substantial challenges facing the field of injury and violence prevention is bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and its real-world application to achieve population-level impact. Much synergy is gained when academic and practice communities collaborate; however, a number of barriers prevent better integration of science and practice. The Journal of Public Health Management & Practice examines 3 examples of academic-practitioner collaborations, including our own InjuryFreeNC Academy.

Each example falls along the spectrum of engagement with nonacademic partners as co-investigators and knowledge producers. They also highlight the benefits of academic-community partnerships and the engaged scholarship model under which Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–funded Injury Control Research Centers operate to address the research-to-practice and practice-to-research gap.

Find the article here.

Report Released on Sustained Effects of North Carolina’s Medicaid “lock-in” Program on Prescription Drugs

Highlights:

  • NC Medicaid “lock-in” program appeared to reduce numbers of controlled substances (e.g., painkillers) dispensed
  • Reductions were evident both while patients were enrolled in the program and in year following program release
  • Dosages of opioids (in terms of morphine milligram equivalents) increased while patients were enrolled in the program and following release
  • Use of cash payment increased during lock-in and after release

(Chapel Hill, N.C. November 14, 2017) – A new study examined the immediate and sustained effects of North Carolina’s Medicaid “lock-in” program on the amounts of prescriptions drugs dispensed to those enrolled in the program.

Rebecca Naumann, MSPH, graduate research assistant with the Injury Prevention Research Center and a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is first author of the study. Other co-authors included Dr. Stephen Marshall, Dr. Jennifer Lund, Dr. Nisha Gottfredson, Dr. Christopher Ringwalt, and Dr. Asheley Skinner.

The full article on their findings, titled “Evaluating short- and long-term impacts of a Medicaid ‘lock-in’ program on opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions dispensed to beneficiaries,” was published online November 14, 2017 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Insurance-based “lock-in” programs have become an increasingly popular strategy to address the potential overutilization of controlled substance prescriptions, such as opioids (painkillers) and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs). “Lock-in” programs typically require patients to use a single prescriber and/or pharmacy to obtain certain controlled substance prescriptions (e.g., opioids, benzodiazepines) for a specified period of time. Naumann and her colleagues examined the specific impacts of North Carolina’s Medicaid “lock-in” program on the amounts of these prescriptions obtained.

Researchers followed a cohort of adults enrolled in the “lock-in” program in the first two years of its operation (October 2010-September 2012). They analyzed patients’ Medicaid claims linked to their Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) records to gain a more complete understanding of all opioids and benzodiazepines dispensed to “lock-in” program patients. This unique linkage allowed Naumann and her colleagues to not only examine the number of opioids and benzodiazepines acquired by patients through Medicaid, but also those acquired using other sources of payment, such as cash.

Among the findings, it appeared that the program did reduce the average number of controlled substances dispensed during and after the patient’s “lock-in.” At the same time, the researchers found that the dosage of opioids (in terms of morphine milligram equivalents) increased during and after their “lock-in” period. Some participants in the program increased their purchase of controlled substances outside of Medicaid, paying cash for these prescriptions during their “lock-in” period and after release.

“While it’s important to see that the program reduced the average number of controlled substances dispensed during lock-in and following program release, it’s also important to note that patients acquired more controlled substances using cash payment,” said Naumann. “The increase in cash payment could be related to a number of factors, but overall signals an important need for improved care coordination in this population.”

These findings highlight the need for providers to regularly check the state’s PDMP database in order to obtain a complete picture of all controlled substances dispensed to patients. Naumann also noted that designing or modifying these programs to increase patient’s accessibility to substance use disorder treatment and treatment for other comorbid conditions, such as mental health disorders, may improve patient outcomes.

“Our understanding of the impacts of these programs has generally been limited to understanding changes in healthcare utilization and costs from an insurer perspective,” said Naumann. “This research sought to provide a more complete understanding of program effects on the magnitude of prescriptions dispensed from a patient perspective. In working to address the opioid crisis, it is critical that we gain a full understanding of the effects of opioid-related policies and programs so that we can design and implement interventions that have the greatest public health impact.”

Raluca Iosif IPV Research Awardee presentation Oct. 12

When: October 12, 2017 2:00 – 3:30 PM
Where: IntraHealth International
6340 Quadrangle Drive, Suite 200
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

Please join us October 12 for a presentation by Josie Caves, winner of the Raluca Iosif Intimate Partner Violence Research Award. The research is designed to further our global understanding of intimate-partner violence and the factors associated with it in relation to homicide.

Caves, a PhD student at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, will discuss her research on the impact of firearm regulations on intimate-partner violence. IntraHealth gender expert Constance Newman and UNC professor Beth Moracco will also discuss the larger research agenda around intimate-partner violence.

IntraHealth launched this award in spring 2016 to honor Raluca Iosif, an IntraHealth colleague whose life was cut short by violence in October 2015, and to ensure that Raluca’s deep commitment to global health—and to ending injustice and violence against women—lives on.

Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

New Safety UTC Envisions Safe Systems Approach for U.S. Roadways

The Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS), the new University Transportation Center (UTC) at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) is taking a fresh approach to road safety. This national safety UTC is focused on implementing a collaborative, multidisciplinary, safe systems approach to reducing transportation-related injuries and fatalities and to helping traffic safety become recognized as a public health priority in the United States. Learn more about it!

HSRC Child Passenger Safety Expert Bill Hall Receives Governors Highway Safety Association Award

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2017) – Today, the Governors Highway Safety Association presented one of its most prestigious honors, the 2017 Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award, to long-time University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center child passenger safety advocate, Bill Hall. Hall received the award at the Highway Safety Awards luncheon today at the 2017 GHSA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky.

Bill Hall was selected as one of two recipients of the 2017 Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award for his dedicated service to child passenger safety. His contributions span a 40-year career at HSRC as an expert in child restraints, safety belts, airbags, and occupant restraint issues.

“Child passenger safety is one of our biggest safety success stories, due in large part due to the work of Bill Hall,” said Jonathon Adkins, GHSA Executive Director. “His passion for keeping kids safe in vehicles has undoubtedly saved many lives in North Carolina and across the country. We are proud to be able to recognize his service.”

“Over the course of his 40-year career, Bill’s efforts have protected a generation of children who grew up riding safely in the car,” said David Harkey, director of HSRC. “Bill’s contributions to road safety are present every day when children travel safely restrained in cars.”

When Hall began his career in the late 1970s, seatbelts had only been required in vehicles for a decade, and child car seats were just starting to become commercially available. Hall’s early work, funded by the North Carolina Governors Highway Safety Program, focused on educating parents about the benefits of car seats in an effort to encourage their use. Hall and a team of HSRC staff traveled across the state of North Carolina talking to physicians, nurses, and parent groups about the importance of protecting children in cars. This grassroots work led to support for North Carolina’s first-ever child passenger safety law passed in 1981. And, by extension, resulted in child passenger laws being enacted in all states across the nation.

Hall served as a founding member of the National Child Passenger Safety Board and helped develop the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Standardized Child Passenger Safety Technical Training” certification curriculum for child passenger safety advocates and educators. Today, more than 142,000 individuals nationwide have successfully completed the program.

Hall’s commitment to making sure every single child is safe has always been a personal one. He is responsible for establishing a North Carolina toll-free number that anyone in the state can use to ask questions about car seats and seatbelts. Over the decades, Hall has personally answered thousands of questions through this phone line. In the early days of child passenger safety, Hall spent many afternoons upside-down in car trunks installing tether anchors for child seats, and, to this day, he can still be found in the community helping parents and other caregivers install seats and educating the community on best practices.

In addition to improvements for child safety, Hall has also been involved in some of the most influential passenger safety programs in the country. Hall’s work on the “Click It Or Ticket” campaign, started in North Carolina, became a nationwide success and has contributed significantly to the high seatbelt use rates seen throughout the country.

Along with Hall’s recognition, the HSRC-led Watch for Me NC program, funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, will be recognized with the 2017 Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award. To learn more about GHSA and the awards program, visit http://www.ghsa.org/about/safety-awards.

About the UNC Highway Safety Research Center
The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center is working hard to help shape the field of transportation safety. HSRC is committed to excellence in sound research, and safety is the preeminent goal – every day and in every project staff undertakes. Birthplace of innovative national programs like Click It or Ticket, graduated driver licensing and Walk to School Day, the center’s mission is to improve the safety, sustainability and efficiency of all surface transportation modes through a balanced, interdisciplinary program of research, evaluation and information dissemination. Learn more at www.hsrc.unc.edu.

HSRC media contact:
Colleen Oliver, 919-962-7769, oliver@hsrc.unc.edu