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InjuryFreeNC was developed through UNC Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) and NC Department of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB) as a way to unify and educate NC injury and violence practitioners. InjuryFreeNC exists to help facilitate networks between practitioners and researchers who work in different injury areas, as well as, help educate and train the workforce addressing injury and violence in North Carolina.

A well trained and competent workforce is crucial to effectively reduce injuries and acts of violence in the state. Per the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s (NC IOM) Prevention for the Health of North Carolina: Prevention Action Plan (the Plan), none of the 33 accredited schools of public health nationwide require an injury course for students in the master’s program. In addition, fewer than 15% of both masters and doctoral graduates will have taken an injury-specific course while in their academic programs.

About 40% of employees of public health departments nationally are not trained in public health. Other health professionals, including nurses, social workers, first responders, and law enforcement, are even less likely to have any formal training in injury and violence prevention. Consequently, the number of qualified professionals in public health is severely limited in its capability to address injury and violence prevention effectively. A needs assessment conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill identified 1,750 injury and violence prevention professionals who lacked formal training in injury and violence prevention in 2011.