stimulating and facilitating investments and activities that are needed to fill gaps in research and program support identified by NCIPC in collaboration with foundations, states and communities, businesses, and other federal agencies to leverage available resources;
promoting communication and exchange among scientists and practitioners (NCIPC's sponsorship or cosponsorship of periodic injury conferences is an important contribution to this objective); and
assisting communities, researchers, and other interested groups; identifying potential funding for worthy projects; and facilitating coordination among them.
The committee recommends that the NCIPC continue to nurture the growth and development of the public health effort in injury prevention and treatment through information exchange, collaboration with injury practitioners and researchers, and leveraging available resources to promote the effectiveness of programs and research.
The crosscutting nature of the injury problem, as well as of injury research and interventions, has been highlighted throughout this report. Through collaboration and coordination, federal agencies can work jointly to combat related and sometimes overlapping problems and to overcome fragmentation. They can link activities and pool resources, which take the form of expertise, funds, databases, access to patient populations, and technology. They also can avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, although duplication does not currently appear to be a major problem across federal injury programs (U.S. DHHS, 1992; GAO, 1994). Although the committee is not naive about the difficulties facing federal agencies when attempting collaboration and coordination, there are effective mechanisms that may ensure success, such as memoranda of understanding, interagency task forces and committees, and funding for joint projects.
In 1985, Injury in America recommended that an injury center at the CDC be established to serve as a "lead agency among federal agencies and private organizations" (NRC, 1985). By using this formulation, the 1985 report appears to have envisioned that the CDC would provide leadership in two ways: (1) by nurturing the public health community's commitment to and interest in the injury field and (2) by coordinating the efforts of the multiple federal agencies involved in injury prevention and treatment. The committee believes that the NCIPC should continue to be a focal point for the public health commitment to the injury field (see above). However, when Congress enacted the Injury Control Act in 1990, it properly recognized that no single agency could "lead" such a diverse federal effort, and instead authorized the CDC to create a program to "work in