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Reducing the Burden of Injury: Advancing Prevention and Treatment
federal agencies. Similarly, a coordinated research program for suicide prevention should be planned by NCIPC and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Overall, the committee believes that greater cooperation and coordination among the many federal agencies involved in injury prevention is an indispensable condition for advancing the field. Unfortunately, cooperative relationships between the NCIPC and other federal agencies involved in injury prevention have too often been impeded by competition and institutional rivalries. To change this pattern, federal agencies involved in injury prevention and treatment should establish partnerships that reflect joint understandings of the missions of the respective agencies and their strengths and limitations.
STRENGTHENING CAPACITY FOR RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
Resources devoted to injury prevention and treatment have increased significantly since 1985, especially when all of the public and private investment is taken into account. However, some important gaps and inadequacies remain. The three main needs are (1) training for injury researchers and practitioners; (2) opportunities for investigator-initiated research in biomechanics, trauma, and injury prevention to build and maintain the research base of the field; and (3) building and maintaining an adequate infrastructure in public health departments to develop and implement injury prevention programs and to collaborate with partners in other agencies and organizations.
There seems to be agreement that education is the area in which the field of injury has made the least progress. In 1985, Injury in America identified the shortage of trained injury prevention professionals and scientists as a major impediment to the development of the field (NRC, 1985). Despite repeated recommendations, these training needs have not yet been adequately addressed by the pertinent federal agencies. The two exceptions to this general statement appear to be NIOSH's training grants and education and research centers and NIH's training grants in trauma and burn programs. The committee recommends that NCIPC, NIOSH, NHTSA, NIH, and other federal agencies significantly increase their support for training of practitioners and researchers.
Numerous reports have pointed out that support for injury research has been seriously inadequate when measured against the magnitude of the injury problem. We do so once again.