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Reducing the Burden of Injury: Advancing Prevention and Treatment
The committee strongly recommends the utilization of rigorous analytical methods in injury research. Collaborations between research centers are critical for assembling populations and cohort groups necessary for conducting large-scale randomized control trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies.
The committee also recommends intensified research in three promising areas for the injury field, specifically:
the continued development of physical, mathematical, cellular, and biofidelic models of injury, particularly for high-risk populations (such as children and small women) while continuing to use animals and cadavers to validate biomechanical models of injury;
the pathophysiology and reparative processes necessary to further the understanding of nonfatal injury causes and consequences, in particular, those that result. in long-term disability; and
differences in risk perception, risk taking, and behavioral responses to safety improvements among different segments of the population, particularly among those groups at highest risk of injury.
The lack of research training is a major barrier to the development of the field of injury prevention research. Training attracts young people to a field and equips them for a lifelong commitment to research and education. A cadre of talented young researchers ensures the growth, innovation, and continuity of a field, yet funding has not been forthcoming to train injury researchers.
In addition to funds for training, the maintenance of a vital extramural research community will require adequate funding for investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed research grants. It is necessary to ensure viable careers for the country's best young researchers and to sustain experienced investigators. Investigator-initiated research should be encouraged to ensure the emergence of innovative approaches to injury research. To ensure the scientific rigor of this research, proposed projects should be peer reviewed by scientists outside the sponsoring federal agencies.
The committee recommends the expansion of research training opportunities by the relevant federal agencies (e.g., NCIPC, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH], and NHTSA). This includes an increase in the number of individual and institutional training grants for injury prevention; research grant proposals should have independent peer review. Adequate federal funding must be forthcoming to sustain careers in the injury field.