adequately, and adding the term "control" can only sow confusion because it implies a preference for coercive interventions. The phrase "injury field" (rather than "injury control") is used to refer to the entire domain of injury prevention and treatment.


The committee was assigned the task of reviewing the progress of the injury field since publication of Injury in America and Injury Control and making recommendations to further develop the field and reduce the burden of injury. The entire report is meant to be responsive to this charge. However, in light of the role of previous IOM-NRC committees in nurturing the development of the field over the past 30 years, the committee wanted to comment on measures of growth and maturity. Based on its public and scientific workshops and on discussions with researchers and practitioners, the committee has concluded that the field has grown in size, has achieved a significant degree of cohesion, and has matured in perspective. However, further development of the field has been hampered by inadequate opportunities for training and scientific communication (see Chapters 4, 7, and 8).

Growth and Cohesion

The authors of Injury in America (NRC, 1985) envisioned an interdisciplinary field of science and practice with five components: (1) epidemiology, (2) prevention, (3) biomechanics, (4) acute care, and (5) rehabilitation. In the follow-up report, Injury Control (NRC, 1988), the IOM-NRC committee referred to these components as the "five core disciplines" of injury control. The current committee has found it helpful to distinguish between the applications of knowledge (prevention and treatment) and the scientific disciplines that provide the methods and analytic tools for acquiring such knowledge. From this perspective, the range of contributing disciplines is far broader than one might infer from Injury in America. In addition to epidemiology, biomechanics, acute care, and rehabilitation, for example, contributing disciplines include psychology, criminology, economics, health outcomes research, and other social and behavioral sciences.

TABLE 1.1 Mission and Vocabulary of the Injury Field

Injury Prevention


Injury Treatment




Acute Care


Preventing injury-causing event

Preventing injury orminimizing severity of injury

Minimizing severity of outcome

Restoring optimum functioning

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