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Letter from Interim Director Steve Marshall
This year marks a major milestone for the Injury Prevention Research Center: the IPRC is turning 25 years of age. Founded in 1987 by Patricia Waller and Carol Runyan, it is one of only two injury control centers that have received continuous CDC core funding since 1987 (Johns Hopkins is the other one).
Obviously, one cannot recount the history of the center without paying homage to the central role of Carol Runyan, Director for 22 of our 25 years. I want to thank Dr. Carol Runyan for her leadership not only of the center, but also within the field. Under her leadership, the center has developed into a world leader in injury prevention and control. We will honor her legacy with continued excellence in understanding the causes of injuries and learning how to prevent them.
UNC Vice Chancellor for Research Barbara Entwisle has formed a Search Committee and launched an internal search for our next permanent director; the next director will be selected from among the ranks of existing UNC faculty. Given the depth of faculty expertise and leadership in the field of injury control on our campus, this process will yield a talented and energetic director. The Vice Chancellor plans to announce the new Director later this spring.
In the meantime, we have made further appointments to the Center’s leadership team. Drs. Michael Bowling and Carri Casteel will join the Center as Associate Directors (in addition to their current faculty appointments within the Gillings School of Global Public Health). Tonya Watkins has joined our team as Assistant Director for Administration. Mariana Garrettson and Liz Knight will remain Assistant Directors for Evaluation and Outreach, respectively. These appointments will ensure our continued commitment to strengthening faculty relationships and, ultimately, create a more dynamic Center.
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has identified four specific areas for enhanced activity:
- motor vehicle crashes;
- prescription drug overdose;
- violence towards youth and children; and
- traumatic brain injury.
While we continue to focus on a variety of injury prevention areas, we recognize the NCIPC’s call for action on these key issues, and we are responding. For instance:
- The UNC IPRC is now home to significant projects focusing on interventions related to preventing prescription drug overdoses.
- Core faculty Kevin Guskiewicz was recently recognized as a MacArthur Fellow for his outstanding work in concussion prevention.
- Results from the 20-year Longitudinal Studies in Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) are being widely disseminated among practitioners and policy makers through a grant funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
- We are actively seeking to expand our collaborative linkages with UNC’s Highway Safety Research Center.
Additionally, we continue to build upon our solid partnership with the NC Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in the Division of Public Health with, among others, efforts related to poisoning prevention, suicide prevention, child maltreatment surveillance, and workforce development. Our evaluation unit is growing rapidly. Our faculty and senior staff continue to provide leadership to the field.
The Center has done much to nurture my career. I worked at the center as a student, and as a research-track faculty member. It is a tremendous opportunity to give something back to the Center as Interim Director, and I look forward to continuing its legacy of outstanding service throughout the term of my interim appointment.
Thank you to everyone who does so much to advance the mission of our center.
Steve Marshall, PhD