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Alison Baker-Lewton | People in Injury Prevention

14 Aug, 17 | by Sheree Bekker

[Sheree Bekker] In the lead up to the 13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference, I invited keynote speaker Dr Alison Baker-Lewton to answer a few questions for our blog.

Alison Baker-Lewton is a Senior Lecturer in Social Pedagogy in the College of Arts and Education at Victoria University in Melbourne. She received her PhD in Psychology in the Public Interest (Community Psychology) at North Carolina State University. Her research draws on critical community psychology, public health and education to explore how inequality impacts young people from marginalized backgrounds, focusing on social identities, sense of belonging and health and well-being. This research has focused on the contexts and ecologies of young people’s lives, including neighborhoods, schools and local arts and sports programs.

Over the past several years a significant part of her research has examined racialisation as a form of structural violence and its impact on young people in Australia. This has included experiences of both adults and young people of African background who have come to Australia as migrants/refugees, drawing attention to the role of settings and activities (i.e. sports, alternative education, community-based arts) as well as the symbolic resources deployed in the development of identity, belonging, and social action. In her research she has mobilised critical race theories and liberation psychology to map empowered community responses and narratives of resistance. Using visual and sound research methodologies, this work has explored possibilities for social change and activism through public and community pedagogies.

Tell us about your training and role in public health

My training and PhD were in the sub-discipline of community psychology, which is explicitly committed to promoting empowerment and takes a strengths-based approach to working with communities towards individual and collective wellbeing. The discipline emphasises a collaborative approach to working with diverse groups and communities to leverage resources and develop strategies to transform oppressive social environments. My experience in public health has been closely tied to Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approaches, specifically using creative and arts-based research with young people to explore social issues related to their lives.

What is your research focused on, and what do you see as the issues currently facing public health?

My current research projects are focused on the use of community-based arts as a catalyst for community and civic engagement among young people from underrepresented groups. One strand of this research focuses on young people’s experiences of racialisation and the implications for identity and belonging across contexts. I am especially interested in blending creative research methodologies and documentary techniques to develop young people’s sense of social justice and capacity for action. Most recently this has been in collaboration with young African-Australian women to explore topics such as misrepresentation in the media, mental health and hair and cultural identity.

How does your research Take Action?

My research with young people aims to take action by bringing their voices to a broader audience, which can challenge negative stereotypes and facilitate dialogue about the issues they face in their lives.

In the academy, we have been taking action in writing about whose knowledge is valued and what constitutes knowledge. Often, collaborative community research that uses arts or cultural practice is not understood as empirical evidence, however, we have been pushing the idea of inclusive knowledges as a way to democratise research.

What can emerging researchers learn from you? 

That doing research with communities requires us to think critically about ourselves, our position and privilege, and to even challenge some of the things we are taught as fledgling academics.

What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming trip to Ballarat?

I haven’t been back to Ballarat for a proper visit since I was 7 years old! I remember mining for gold with a little pan, but coming up empty handed. I’m looking forward to coming back to see how much Ballarat has changed.


Earlybird registration for the  13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference is now open! 


Would you choose difficulty accessing health-care?

8 Aug, 17 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

Hopefully you would answer no to the question “Would you choose difficulty accessing health-care?” But that is the reality for Australians who live in the country. A recent survey of country folk regarding their access to health care, mental health and preventative health was undertaken as part of a collaborative project between the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the National Farmers Federation, and the Country Women’s Association of Australia (including Queensland, my home state).

In case you didn’t know, the majority of Australians (70.2%) live in major cities, but these major cities comprise just 0.3% of our land mass. Of our 23.5 million population, approximately 7 million live in remote and rural areas, with half of these living in remote or very remote areas of Australia. While Australia may be the beautiful Sunburnt Country, the poem belies some uniquely-regional experiences, such as through prose including “for flood and fire and famine” and “over the thirsty paddocks“.

So what does health-care look like, and live like, in these areas? The survey of 454 Australians living in remote and regional parts of Australia explored two key perspectives:

  1. the three most important health issues impacting upon their community, and
  2. the three areas in which funding is required to improve community health outcomes.

Most important health issues:

  1. general health access (32.5% of participants), including access to general practitioners, medical specialists, hospitals, diagnostic tests, and allied health services;
  2. mental health problems (12.2%); and
  3. drug and alcohol problems (4.1%).

Other health issues include cancer and cardiovascular health.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most important health funding priorities reflect the most important health issues:

  1. general health access (32.2%);
  2. mental health problems (14.6%); and
  3. health prevention and promotion (8.6%).

Other funding priorities include cancer, aged car, and travel and accommodation support for Australians who need to travel outside of their community to access health-related services and support.

While attention has been drawn to the need for better access to health care, and funding has been invested, this report provides the uniquely-Aussie input so critically needed in these injury prevention efforts.



Firearm safety interventions: you get what you pay for?

2 Aug, 17 | by Angy El-Khatib

I work in a Level 1 Trauma Center in the state of Ohio in the United States. I am tasked with decreasing injury before it occurs by providing culturally-relevant injury prevention in my community. One thing you should know: Ohioans. Love. Guns. Many rely on it for game hunting, protection, sport, etc. Another thing you should know: a solid number of the trauma patients that come into my hospital present with a firearm injury. So how do we stop that?

As injury prevention researchers, we have a body of research which suggests that the safe storage of guns can significantly reduce unintentional firearm injuries in the home. However, a lacking body of research related to the safe storage of firearm injuries means we don’t have a conclusive answer.

In the latest issue of Injury Prevention, researchers at the University of Washington published a preliminary evaluation of a community-based firearm safety intervention. The intervention provided a free, participant-selected locking device designed for safe firearm storage. Additionally, participants were assessed for device preferences, as well as their level of comfort with firearm safety counselors.

What the study found was participants are more likely to lock all firearms in their household (+13.7%) and more likely to unload their firearms (+8.5%). Although not statistically significant, +6.3% reported that all their ammunition was safely stored away. The majority of participants also reported being comfortable in discussing firearms safety with a safety counselor.

This new research is great as it adds to the body of research suggesting that participants are, in fact, willing to employ safe firearm storage practices and willing to receive safety education. The kicker is that an increase in safe firearm storage was only observed if participants received a free firearm storage device. In a systematic review published by the same researchers, they discovered that out of 7 community-based interventions centered around safe firearm storage, only the 3 studies which offered free firearm storage devices observed increases in firearm storage rates.

With this in mind, how do we – as injury prevention practitioners – translate these findings into everyday practice? How do we aim to enhance the adoption of these best practices in the community with cost-effectiveness in mind?

In the United States, federal firearms dealers are required to provide with each gun that is sold with a storage or locking device. This law does not apply to private sales… except in the state of California, which requires all guns which are sold and transferred to be locked. The only state to criminalize the storage of unlocked firearms is the state of Massachusetts. In 2015, the Department of Justice awarded the National Shooting Sports Foundation a $2.4 million grant to distribute gun-safety kits (which included steel cable locks) to gun owners.

Hopefully, as the body of research in data relating to firearm storage increases, the answer to increasing the adoption of firearm safety best practices becomes more clearer.


Lynne Moore | People in Injury Prevention

20 Jul, 17 | by Sheree Bekker

[Sheree Bekker] In the lead up to the 13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference, I invited keynote speaker Associate Professor Lynne Moore to answer a few questions for our blog.

Lynne Moore is an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the department of social and preventative medicine, Laval University in Québec City. She is recipient of a research career award and a CIHR Foundation grant, holds or shares over 10.1$m in research grants, and has published 140 peer-reviewed papers over her research career. Her research interests are in improving the quality of acute injury care. She has led the development, validation, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive quality tool assessment for acute injury care which has been implemented across Canada. She is co-leader of the International Injury Care Improvement Initiative.

1. Tell us about your training and role in public health/injury prevention.

I have a PhD in epidemiology and biostatistics and have been involved in injury research since 2001. I currently work in close collaboration with our provincial health quality assurance organisation on the evaluation and improvement of trauma systems.


2. What is your research focused on, and what do you see as the issues currently facing public health/injury prevention?

I focus on solutions to getting the right patient to the right place at the right time and delivering appropriate care. My current research projects have three main goals: 1) identifying determinants of inter-provider variations in resource use intensity related to injury care, 2) reducing the use of low-value clinical practices, and 3) improving our understanding of the components of trauma systems that drive optimal patient outcomes. I think that developing optimal trauma systems with available resources in low and middle income countries represents one of the most important global challenges in injury care.


3. How does your research Take Action?

Quality indicators developed through my research program have been used to evaluate injury care quality across Canada and have led to improvements in injury mortality and resource utilisation.


4. What can emerging researchers learn from you?

That injury research is a fantastic research field to be working in! Compared to many other fields such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, injury research is in its infancy and therefore presents extremely fertile ground for dynamic, young researchers. Most importantly, it has the potential to make a huge difference in terms of saving healthy, productive life years.


5. What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming trip to Ballarat, Australia?

This is my first trip to Australia! I’m spending a month with Belinda Gabbe’s research team as part of my sabbatical. I’m really excited about this opportunity to meet with prestigious colleagues and discover a part of the world that I’ve been longing to visit since I was a child.


Earlybird registration for the  13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference is now open! 


When cows attack: how dangerous are cattle and how can you stay safe around them? | The Conversation

17 Jul, 17 | by Sheree Bekker

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Curious? Or dangerous?

[This post is from Carri Westgarth, University of Liverpool and Marie McIntyre, University of Liverpool]

A well-respected retired academic was recently trampled to death by cattle while walking in Oxford. In 2012, my father was hospitalised after being attacked by cows while walking his dogs through a field next to his village. He picked up his dog and was pushed to the floor and trampled before escaping over a wall.

My colleague, Marie, meanwhile, is a keen cross-country runner, and regularly runs with her dog (or is chased) through fields where both dairy and beef cattle graze. These kinds of incident raise questions about the safety of the public near livestock. And we asked these same questions when we conducted research on this very topic.

There are about 9.7m cattle in the UK. Meanwhile, 3.6 billion people annually visit the countryside, with dog walking accounting for 51% of visits. This means that the general public are likely regularly to encounter livestock.

The drive towards healthy living and outdoor pursuits, footpaths crossing farmland, and the introduction of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act), which promotes public access to “open country”, all encourage countryside activities. At the same time, more and more people grow up in an urban environment, and may not have often experienced livestock. This could lead to more problematic interactions between people and animals.

The facts

So how often do cattle attack people, and what proportion of attacks are fatal? Are there particular risk factors? And what guidance is publicly available on how to behave near cattle?

We searched newspaper reports over two decades, and identified 54 separate attacks by cattle on members of the public out walking. Of these, 24% were fatal. Injuries included fractures from kicking, lacerations, punctured lungs, bruising, black eyes, joint dislocation, nerve damage and unconsciousness.

But how does this compare with official statistics? The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports deaths, not attacks. They say that on average four to five people are killed in accidents involving cattle each year, with 74 fatal attacks since 2000. Most were farm workers, but a quarter (24%) of these deaths were members of the public walking on footpaths or commonly used rights of way. The government agency also comments on the under-reporting of this issue, due to a lack of awareness of the need to report a cattle attack as a “workplace” injury.

People may think that bulls are most likely to attack – remember the beginning of Ferdinand the Bull. But while they cause more fatalities among farm workers, both official reports and our work suggest that this is not the case for people out walking.

Where recorded, 91% of HSE reported fatalities on the public were caused by cows with calves; only one death involved a bull, and even this was unproven in court. Of all attacks, we found that 48% were caused by (unspecified) herds, followed by single cows (22%), cows and calves (20%), heifers (7%), and one bull attack (2%). Behavioural research suggests maternal defensive aggression may be behind many attacks.

The dog factor

Does having a dog make a difference? Yes: dogs look like predators, and they are even more threatening to dairy cattle than unfamiliar people. This is reflected in the data: 94% of walkers killed had dogs, and two thirds of all attacks involved dogs. Though our sample numbers were small, we also found evidence suggesting that women were more likely to protect their dogs, while men let them go – the recommended advice, which my dad did not follow.

Beware: cows aren’t keen.

Does cattle breed make a difference? The HSE says not: the rate of fatalities did not differ for dairy and beef breeds. Both UK industries are highly dominated by certain breeds, such as Holstein and Aberdeen Angus, but farmers report that continental breeds, such as Limousin and Charolais are more highly strung. These are imported into the UK for beef production, and are likely to be more extensively farmed and handled less than dairy cattle, exacerbating any behavioural issues.

So what advice is provided to the public about cattle? The countryside is a great place for exercise, including with dogs, but must be treated with respect. It’s every owner’s duty to make sure that their dog is not a nuisance to farm animals, wildlife or other people.

It’s impractical to expect farmers never to keep cattle where the public can access, but the HSE advises that wherever possible, they should avoid keeping cows and calves in fields with public footpaths, and appropriate signage and protected walkways should be considered.


They also highlight the main risk factors we mention, further noting that when stressed by the weather, illness or unusual disturbance, cattle can become aggressive too. We found wide variation in countryside guidelines for the public, but many reproduced The Countryside Code.

One area lacking clear guidance is that of dog control near cattle. After a peak of attacks in 2009, the National Farmers Union began to advise keeping dogs on leads around cattle, but releasing them if chased or threatened.

Interestingly, a new sign stating this eventually appeared in the place where my dad was attacked after more incidents had occurred. Fortunately, the only long-term effects for him were a bruised ego during family referrals to “Cowgate” and dogs who shake in fear of cows on TV.

The ConversationBut what is the long-term future for cattle attack research? First, a well-designed, official system to document accidents is required; evidence for risk factors could then be properly assessed, and used to develop better guidance to reduce attacks. In the meantime, remember your dog can run faster than you – let it go.

Carri Westgarth, Research Fellow in Human-Animal Interaction, University of Liverpool and Marie McIntyre, Research Associate Epidemiologist, University of Liverpool

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Roadway Tragedies: When Will the Madness End?

16 Jun, 17 | by Angy El-Khatib

[Angy El-Khatib] This post is from guest blogger Bethesda Yohannes. Bethesda is an intern at the Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, United States. She is currently a second year undergradute student in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. 

As the journey to reduce traffic-related fatalities continues, more information is becoming available to aid in this expedition. Traffic fatalities have been present ever since the time of buggies and horse-drawn carriages. Although traffic-related casualties have occurred since the beginning of vehicle transportation, the tolerance for these accidents remains low due to the high potential for prevention. Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) published a report which explores the correlation between mortalities and factors such as weekends, unemployment, and technology.

The 2017 IIHS report reveals that traffic-related death rates increase during weekends and holidays. According to the IIHS, increasing death rates can be linked to risky behaviors that take place during these periods. Although roadway deaths have decreased since 1998, the pattern of deaths remains stagnant. As Charles Farmer, IIHS Vice President for Research and Statistical Services, said, “The riskiest times remain risky.” However, with proper enforcements these rates can decline. New Years Eve and [American] Independence Day are the two holidays with the highest, traffic-related fatality rates; however, when increased impaired-driving enforcement (i.e. – DUI checks) are initiated during these holidays, traffic-related fatalities went down 5% during New Years Eve and 13% during Independence Day.

Although traffic-related death patterns have remained the same, they have decreased within the last decade; this can partly be attributed to advances in technology relating to motor vehicles. Improved safety technology and newer car models have resulted in slightly reduced driver death rates. Factors, such as the size of the vehicle, are being investigated; for example, small, four-door cars were found to have the highest death rate (87 deaths per million) whereas SUVs had the lowest death rates (6 deaths per million). Crash avoidance technology and “self-driving” vehicles could, in theory, reduce crash rates. However, as Farmer points out, “Improvement in vehicle technology are important, but we also need to address old problems such as speeding and driving while impaired.”

Unfortunately, improvements in the economy do not always equate to lower death rates; the decline of unemployment rates due to a flourishing economy have been linked to the increase in traffic fatalities. This increase is not only due to an improved economy, but rather the increase of vehicle miles as more people attend work. If the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics prediction of an annual decline of 1.7% in unemployment from 2014 to 2024 continues, it is expected that the , traffic-related death rates will reduce from 35,092 in 2015 to 34,400 by 2024. An improved economy may be related to increases in highway fatalities or accidents at the workplace, but lifestyle factors could also play a role. We know that smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and physical inactivity rise when unemployment rates fall.

The exact correlation between unemployment and traffic-related death rates are still being researched as more data about the multiple factors continues to be collected. Researchers remain puzzled about the most effective and efficient methods to prevent traffic-related deaths, but efforts continue. Partnerships with court systems, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and other community organizations (such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving or the American Automobile Association) allow injury prevention professionals to identify high-risk individuals and make a population-level impact. Surveillance of traffic-related crashes and reports, such as the IIHS report, are necessary to better inform policy and/or community-level interventions.


6 reasons why students should attend conferences

14 Jun, 17 | by Sheree Bekker


[Sheree Bekker] This post is from guest blogger Amy Vassallo. Amy is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney and Research Assistant at the Prevention Research Collaboration.  As an advocate for women in science she is the student representative on the Franklin Women Peer Advisory Board and curates their monthly e-newsletter. In 2017 Amy is also the student representative on the 13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference Scientific Committee.


As research students we are encouraged, and at some institutes required, to attend conferences.  Sure they’re a great way to present your work and research findings, but there is so much more to be gained from conference attendance beyond an 8-10 minute presentation. So what are some of these opportunities and how can you achieve the most out of the few days?


  1. The opportunity to present your research (well!)

At the end of the day this still needs to be the first priority for conferencing.  A poorly prepared presentation sticks out like a sore thumb and the audience certainly can tell the difference between a speaker who is nervous (and be very forgiving towards them) and a speaker who is winging it (and be far less forgiving). Be organized and submit your abstract before the deadline, or if you’ve missed out keep an eye out for late breaking abstract opportunities, which often come up in the months just before the conference.  Also consider submitting for a poster presentation in addition to your oral presentation.  Electronic posters are increasingly popular at conferences and are no longer the unfortunate cousin of the oral presentation hidden behind the muffins at afternoon tea.  E-posters are less work to prepare than traditional posters, so feasible to do in addition to an oral, and gives you lots more opportunity for discussion and two-way dialogue about your research.


  1. The opportunity to meet other students

Conferences early on in your career can be frightfully intimidating, especially if you’re not there with your supervisor or colleagues from your research institute.  Meeting a group of other students early on can make all the difference.  Many students feel like a fish out of water at their first few conferences (or remember that feeling) and therefore actively want to make new connections. So attend any and all of the social events for students and introduce yourself to people.  You know you will already have a few things in common since you’re at the same conference and experiencing post grad life. Your fellow students may also be your future research collaborators, so these student friendships you build at conferences could be of huge benefit into your future career.


  1. The opportunity to meet leaders in your field

Sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel of your study program, and meeting or listening to inspiring leaders in your field can be just what’s needed to reinvigorate you.  Be prepared and read the conference program and speaker list beforehand.  Is there someone you’re simply desperate to meet one-on-one?  Perhaps a mid-career researcher?  Contact them beforehand to arrange a time to talk, as you shouldn’t expect to bump into everyone at morning tea. But this comes with a warning, make sure you have a clear intention as they will inevitably ask ‘so what is it that you want from me’ and you need to be prepared with a response.


  1. The opportunity for careers information and inspiration

Jobs in injury prevention are varied, and that’s one reason why this field is so appealing.  Being at a conference and seeing the breadth of attendees and presentations can provide invaluable advice and inspiration for students about what to expect post-graduation, whether you intend to remain in academia or not.  Have a look in the conference program for any careers focused sessions designed for students and early career researchers.  Conferences are also a good opportunity to find out about professional organizations in your field (like the AIPN for example).  Joining organizations such as these provides you with a network of colleagues, and often a discount on your conference registration or the chance to apply for a student award. Once you get to the conference browse through the sponsor stalls, you never know what inspiration you might find there.


  1. The opportunity for skills development and to learn something new

It’s increasingly common for conferences to have satellite skills development workshops either held in the preceding days or over breakfast.  Be sure to check out the conference website beforehand, as these may require an additional registration, but can help make it easier to justify the need for conference travel.  Conferences also provide the opportunity to learn about areas of research you may have never heard of. Try going to some concurrent presentation sessions on a topic you’re less familiar with, you might learn about a different research method or skill that could be innovatively applied to your area.


  1. The opportunity to have fun

Go to the side events – the workshops, the pre-conference tours, the conference dinner – just do it!  They always offer a chance to learn something new (related or not to your research) and can help with the nerves and anxiety you might be feeling about more formal conference networking.  Delegates get the chance to let their hair down at these events, and that gives you the chance to see the person behind the research expert, make some friends and have a bit of fun, as a student you deserve it!


At this year’s Australian Injury Prevention Network conference, the scientific committee have taken these six goals as the inspiration for the development of an exciting conference program for students.  There will be a focus on posters, a preconference walking tour and informal presentations, a careers panel, a preconference workshop on meta-analysis and a speed networking session just for students designed to help you develop your research pitch. All the details of these events are available on the conference website.

There’s strength in numbers when it comes to injury prevention

11 May, 17 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

This week marks the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week. As noted on the website, the focus is

on speed and what can be done to address this key risk factor for road traffic deaths and injuries.

Speed contributes to around one-third of all fatal road traffic crashes in high-income countries, and up to half in low- and middle-income countries.

Countries successfully reducing road traffic deaths have done so by prioritizing safety when managing speed. Among the proven strategies to address speed include:

  • Building or modifying roads to include features that calm traffic
  • Establishing speed limits to the function of each road
  • Enforcing speed limits
  • Installing in-vehicle technologies
  • Raising awareness about the dangers of speeding.

The Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week seeks to increase understanding of the dangers of speed and generate action on measures to address speed, thereby saving lives on the roads.

One of the ways that injury prevention researchers – such as myself – can increase their capacity for influence is working with others who also have the capacity for influence. Regular readers of the blog will recognise my repeated recommendation to connect, collaborate, and achieve; indeed I’ve often featured my perspectives regarding the many and varied benefits that arise from such actions.

Today, for something a little different, I am delighted to feature a blog written by my colleague, Ms Julia Carter, the Writer and Content Marketing Specialist at Youi Insurance, as she shares some thoughts regarding working with an injury prevention researcher:


At Youi, we know there’s a huge gap in the car insurance market. Insurers are providing cover for when things go wrong on the road, but what are we actually doing to prevent those things from happening?

Knowledge is Power

We believe we have a responsibility as insurers to help protect our customers the best we can, and not just by offering them cover for a range of insured events, but by equipping them with tools and resources that help avoid those events in the first place.

Engage an Expert

In addition to regularly writing articles about road safety and publishing them on our “On The Road” blog, we have partnered with Dr. Bridie Scott-Parker to focus on injury prevention. Dr. Bridie’s expertise perfectly complements our content mission to raise awareness for road safety. We are currently finalizing production for a new VLOG featuring Dr Bridie’s research, which we hope will engage and inspire various road users to commit to road safety.

Be Seen to be Heard

Of course sometimes the easiest way to get people to listen is to speak directly to them. That’s why we recently hosted a #SlowDownDay as part of the 4th annual United Nations Global Road Safety Week. The event encouraged our staff to take a few minutes out of their busy day to slow down, grab a snack and learn about road safety from experts in the field, including Dr. Bridie and the Queensland Fire & Emergency Services. We also invited our partners from the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge to share some tips on preventing animal collisions, and Automotive Service Centres (ABS) discussed the importance of regular car servicing and brake check-ups to ensure safe driving.

Strength in Skills & Numbers

One thing we’ve learned since taking this more robust approach to road safety awareness is that people want to stay safe on the roads. Everyone’s been touched by a road collision in some way or another, and we all agree that we need to do our part in making the roads a safer place for everyone. That said, we have found that getting people to take the time to read or watch content about road safety requires a variety of skills. In this day and age of social media and information overload, there is so much content online that most of it just gets lost. Having someone as enthusiastic and passionate as Dr. Bridie deliver road safety education is instrumental, but we also need to host that content in the right place, boost it through the right channels, and throw all of our resources behind it to ensure the message gets across.


We are extremely excited about what the future of this partnership holds and its potential to bring Dr. Bridie’s research to a wider audience through a strategic content marketing approach. We encourage all businesses and individuals to seek out local road safety authorities and create similar partnerships, because when it comes to injury prevention, there is strength in numbers.



New free online Injury Prevention course

10 May, 17 | by Sheree Bekker

[Sheree Bekker] Dr Safa Abdalla contacted us with news of this new Injury Prevention course for those interested in public health, available as a  free standalone self-study course on an open online courses platform. In this post, she and co-author Prof Richard Heller share more about its development, purpose, and content. 

This post was written by Dr Safa Abdalla (Ireland) and Prof Richard Heller (Australia) on behalf of the course development team, which also includes Dr Victoria Ononenze (UK) and Dr Kavi Bhalla (USA).

In an increasingly digitally connected world, knowledge exchange and affordable access to high quality professional development have never been more feasible, an opportunity seized upon by Peoples-uni. Peoples-uni is a UK-based charity dedicated to offer affordable education in Public Health. Its main mission is to contribute to improvements in the health of populations in low- to middle-income countries by building Public Health capacity via e-learning at very low cost. To do that, Peoples-uni initiative offers master-level educative programs and short Open Online Courses (OOCs). Since its establishment in 2007, individual course module development and delivery teams have involved more than 300 volunteers from more than 40 different countries.

With the majority of injury deaths taking place in low- and middle- income countries, the engagement and expertise of public health professionals in those countries in injury prevention is vital for tackling the problem. While public health skills are transferable and equally applicable to the full range of public health issues, it was still pertinent to ensure that any educational initiative benefiting professionals in those countries included an opportunity to learn about the language and specifics of injury prevention, at the same time helping to bring more attention to the issue.

To that end, Peoples-uni has debuted its new, free, short online course, Injury Prevention (available through The course has been prepared by an international team of experts and is designed to help students learn how to collect action-oriented information on the burden of injury in their setting, understand the causes and risk factors for injury, and develop and evaluate intervention programs relevant to their setting. This is underpinned by the principles and characteristics of a public health approach to prevention. You pace yourself through the course, which is available at any time, and you can gain a certificate of completion, through accessing the resources and taking the quiz. The Injury Prevention course is also available for academic credit. For more information visit

We consider this introductory course a unique addition to the few self-paced courses on injury prevention out there. It is concise, avoids bandwidth-demanding media, and relies on carefully selected copy-right cleared publications that our audience can freely access and work through independently. While some of those resources relate to specific external causes, we do not single out specific injuries for focus but rather generically fit learning about injury prevention in a public health approach framework. We then challenge participants to test their learning by applying it in specific situations. The course fits well with other standalone Peoples-uni OOCs, e.g. Global Mental Health and Global Health Informatics that can be used by participants to further explore these issues that are connected with the content of the course. We intend to continue to improve and develop this course to make it more responsive to our target audience’s needs based on their feedback. Those for whom the course is too introductory can still help by taking a look and giving us feedback on how to improve it while keeping it as ‘resource non-demanding’ as possible. So check it out and let us know what you think!

Ioni Lewis | People in Injury Prevention

3 May, 17 | by Sheree Bekker

[Sheree Bekker] In the lead up to the 13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference, I invited keynote speaker Dr Ioni Lewis to answer a few questions for our blog.

Dr Ioni Lewis has 15 years’ experience in road safety and traffic psychology research. She is based at the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) where she is currently a Senior Research Fellow. Ioni’s expertise is in the development and evaluation of road safety advertising messages, drawing upon social psychological perspectives. She has led the development of an innovative conceptual framework, The Step approach to Message Design and Testing (SatMDT) which she has applied in relation to the development and evaluation of road safety campaigns addressing high risk behaviours. Ioni has an extensive publication record comprising peer-reviewed journals, peer-reviewed full papers and abstracts for conferences, as well as reports for Government and Industry. Ioni has received invitations to present at international and national forums. In 2015, she was invited to the USA to consult on the development and evaluation of a large-scale National Driver Safety Education Campaign funded by the National Safety Council. In 2014, she was invited to present on health communications for injury prevention at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Ioni was the developer and Chair of the Organising Committee for the inaugural Australasian Symposium of Health Communication, Advertising and Marketing (Health CAM) in 2014. The Symposium, the only one of its kind to be dedicated to Health Communications in Australasia, featured international and national experts as guest speakers. Ioni was also Chair of the Scientific Committee of the 2015 Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC).

1. Tell us about your training and role in injury prevention

I have been working in the field of injury prevention research, and specifically in the area of road safety and traffic psychology, since 2002 when I commenced my Honours at the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Currently, I am a Senior Research Fellow at CARRS-Q. My background (undergraduate and Honours) is in Psychology with my PhD in Social Psychology/Traffic Psychology.

2. What is your research focused on, and what do you see as the issues currently facing injury prevention?

In my research, I develop and evaluate injury prevention messaging for public education campaigns. Much of my work has been in the area of road safety advertising; however, I have been involved in the development of campaigns addressing injury prevention issues more broadly (e.g., baby slings). The changing communication landscape (towards more online and digital communications) has meant that, potentially more so than ever, there is a crucial need to ensure not only that ‘we get the message content right’ but that we also ‘get the communication channel/medium right”.

3. How does your research Take Action?

I think that my area of research is very much about ‘taking action’. Public education and communication campaigns focused on achieving social and behaviour change play an important role in helping to improve the quality and longevity of individuals’ lives.

4. What can emerging researchers learn from you?

As a researcher, I am a strong advocate for the value of theory in informing what we do and thus evidence-based practice. When our research is guided by theory, we gain greater insights into why a particular message approach did or did not work as intended.

5. Have you ever been to Ballarat/Australia and have a great story to tell? Or, what are you looking forward to most about your upcoming trip to Ballarat/Australia?

I have only visited Ballarat once in my life so I am keen to return – am very much looking forward to attending the AIPN conference in Ballarat!



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