Increasing numbers of individuals, from a wide variety of disciplines and occupational settings, identify themselves as participants in the field of injury prevention and treatment rooted in the intellectual perspectives and methods of public health. When the CDC and the Johns Hopkins University convened the First National Conference on Injury Control in 1981, it was attended by approximately 25 individuals, representing about half of all of those working in the field at the time. In comparison, more than 900 people participated in the November 1997 Safe America Conference. The National Directory of Injury Prevention Professionals lists 1,234 individuals in its 1992 edition (Children's Safety Network, 1992).
It also appears that the injury field has achieved a significant degree of cohesion, notwithstanding the diversity of disciplines and the variety of specialized spheres of interest. The field has drawn together specialists interested in various domains of prevention (e.g., highway safety, fire safety, product safety, occupational safety, child injury, and violence and suicide prevention) as well as basic scientists and clinicians interested in various types of trauma (e.g., burns, orthopedic injuries, and head injuries). As has occurred in the cancer field, these specialists have come to see scientific, programmatic, and political advantages to characterizing injury as a single "disease." The growing cohesion of the field (within public health) is evidenced by the growth of the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services section within the American Public Health Association, and the development of the field is reflected in, and symbolized by, the 10 multidisciplinary injury control research centers (ICRCs) established over the past decade by the CDC (see Chapter 8).
Links between researchers and practitioners are also developing. National conferences in the field draw together science and practice in both prevention and treatment. The ICRCs have played an important role in this effort, holding conferences for practitioners and facilitating the implementation and evaluation of interventions. In addition, several journals are now devoted exclusively to the field, including the Journal of Safety Research, Injury Prevention, Accident Analysis and Prevention, and the Journal of Trauma, and an increasing amount of space is devoted to injury-related articles in journals with general professional readerships, including the American Journal of Public Health, Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Medical Association , and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Another intriguing aspect of the emergence and composition of the injury field has been the close collaboration of prevention and treatment. An analogous development has occurred in the fields of cancer and heart disease. One might say that these partnerships can be explained entirely as expressions of political self-interest. Voices raised in support of injury prevention (including fire prevention, violence and suicide prevention, etc.) and in support of trauma care and rehabilitation are most likely to be heard if they are raised in unison. But the committee believes that much more than political strength would be lost if the