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News & Notes

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 http://ooc.peoples-uni.org). 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 http://www.peoples-uni.org/.

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!

Take Action for Injury Prevention 2017

27 Feb, 17 | by Sheree Bekker

In his closing remarks to the 2016 World Safety conference, Professor Adnan Hyder encouraged delegates to “take action.” These words also weave through the Tampere Declaration which encourages a global commitment for stronger injury and violence prevention by integrating injury and violence prevention into other health and safety advocacy platforms.

The Australian Injury Prevention Network (AIPN), Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP) and Federation University Australia, are pleased to be hosting the 13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference, to be held at The Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre, Ballarat, Victoria, 13 – 15 November 2017.

Take Action is the theme of the 2017 Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference.

The conference will celebrate five ways in which we can Take Action:

  • Systems for safer cities and stronger communities
  • Injury prevention through the arts
  • Advancing approaches to injury and violence prevention
  • Applying data in policy, planning and research
  • Understanding outcomes and experiences

Some of these areas have been the topic of recent blog posts here on the Injury Prevention blog. Injury Prevention through the Arts was discussed in Meet Graham and Almost Impossible Cancer Spaghetti: The intersection between injury prevention and the arts, and Systems for Safer Cities and Stronger Communities was highlighted in The Lancet Series on Urban Design, Transport and Health: cities planned for humans rather than cars.

Presentations from all fields of injury and safety promotion will be included in the program (child and family safety, road and transport safety, falls and ageing, water safety and drowning, burns prevention, sports injury prevention, workplace safety, injury amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, intentional injury, trauma outcomes and registries, plus many more…)

We’ll be outlining more about the ideas to Take Action in the lead up to the conference, as well as profiling our keynote and invited speakers.

For now, we encourage everyone to Take Action on their abstracts – submissions close 11th April 2017.

Celebrating science and inspiring the next generation of scientists

22 Aug, 16 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

Last week in Australia was National Science Week, a nation-wide celebration of science and technology via three key pathways.

Pathway one is to inspire the general public to be involved in science – creating new knowledge – through engaging activities such as Citizen Science. This year’s Citizen Scientists are identifying Australian wildlife that are featured in photos captured via automatic cameras, and anyone with internet access can participate whether they have a university qualification or not. This fantastic activity means that science is indeed inclusive, when many times it can feel like science is a members-only club.

The second pathway is through showcasing the contributions of scientists to the world of knowledge through the Australian Institute of Policy and Science Tall Poppy Awards. As the joint-Queensland 2015 winner of this award, I was delighted to attend the 2016 award evening on Wednesday and was pleased to learn about innovative projects across a breadth of disciplines, such as infecting coeliacs with hookworms, the sexual attractiveness of facial hair, and optimising agricultural irrigation to name a few. Next month I will be one of the inaugural Flying Scientists, bringing science to rural regions in which exposure to science can be limited.

The third pathway relates to a flurry of activities to inspire the next generation to be scientists – both today and in their future education and career paths. Recognising the importance of encouraging girls in particular to become – and stay – engaged in scientific pursuits, I was delighted to host the first University of the Sunshine Coast Growing Tall Poppies program in my research unit here at the University of the Sunshine Coast earlier this year.

Adolescent Risk Research Unit team members Jeanne, Jamie, and Natalie, mentoring Sasha, Isabella, Mikayala, and Sian.

The four Grade 10 students learnt about career paths through and in science, and conducted their own research project under the guidance of members of my team, before making a presentation of their research activities and the key findings before the senior school assembly on Wednesday morning. This presentation was very well-received by the students and teachers in attendance, further breaking silos such as ‘academics’, ‘schools’, and ‘science’ which can pervade.

Bridie with the 4 GTPs after the school assembly presentation

Bridie and the 4 GTP stars after their school assembly presentation.

If we are to continue to effectively prevent injury, we need to make science accessible to everyone, and to the next generation especially.

 

Dissemination and implementation of best practice in falls prevention across Europe

28 Aug, 15 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

As injury prevention researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers, we are all aware that falls are an important public health issue. Today I wanted to profile a novel approach to preventing falls. Dr Helen Hawley-Hague of the University of Manchester is the Scientific Coordinator of ProFouND, the Prevention of Falls Network for Dissemination, and she has shared with me some information regarding this innovative injury prevention approach.

ProFouND is a European Commission-funded initiative dedicated to bring about the dissemination and implementation of best practice in falls prevention across Europe. ProFouND comprises 21 partners from 12 countries, with a further 10 associate members. ProFouND aims to

  • influence policy to increase awareness of falls and innovative prevention programmes among health and social care authorities, the commercial sector, NGOs and the general public,
  • ultimately increasing the delivery of evidence-based practice in falls prevention and
  • therefore reducing the numbers of falls and injurious falls experienced by older adults across Europe.

ProFouND contributes to the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), with the ultimate objective of adding an average of two active healthy life years to the lives of European citizens by 2020. ProFouND’s objective is to embed evidence-based fall prevention programmes for elderly people at risk of falls using novel ICT solutions in at least 10 countries/15 EU regions by the end of 2015, thus to reduce falls incidence in those regions by 2020. The following resources are available to support falls injury prevention:

  1. ProFouND Falls Prevention App (PFNApp), accessible for registered health care practitioners and available in multiple languages;
  2. Cascade training using face-to-face and e-learning approaches and available in multiple languages; and
  3. A free resources library, in addition to information regarding upcoming conferences, and other recent research.

Having seen the ramifications of falls in my own family, with my elderly grandmother fracturing both her pelvis and vertebrae in one fall, this program definitely seems like a step in the right direction!

 

 

Home safety and the prevention of falls

17 Aug, 15 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Safety Centre has created a new online resource to tackle the number one cause of injury to children in Victoria, Australia – falls.

Targeting parents of children aged from birth to 14 years old, the site details simple steps parents and caregivers can take to prevent common injuries by age group, such as

* changing a baby’s nappy on the floor rather than on an elevated change table, and

* wearing protective gear, including mouth guards, when playing contact sports.

RCH Trauma Service Manager Helen Jowett says the frequency of under 14-year-olds requiring a hospital admission following a fall has increased by 29 per cent since 1998, at an annual cost of $18.6 million.

Most of those injuries occur in the home and behind those statistics are children like Ella, who had a tough lesson in gravity when she fell from a tree she was climbing in her back garden. The eight-year-old, from country Victoria, landed head-first when she fell, and was rushed to her local hospital where she was assessed as having a significant head injury.

Ella was promptly sent to The Royal Children’s Hospital by air ambulance for emergency surgery. After discharge, she spent several weeks resting and was unable to play contact sport for three months.

The new website shows that, unlike Ella’s hospital stay, safety around the home doesn’t need to be expensive, emotionally draining, complicated, or time-consuming.

Importantly for injury prevention around the world, the website is an easy-to-access repository for information regarding, and links to, useful tips and advice that can be applied in any home anywhere, anytime. For example, falls-prevention safety pertaining to furniture, and to bunk beds specifically, may have helped prevent my nephew from breaking his arm as a young boy.

Concern for prehospital care/ambulance services

10 Aug, 15 | by jmagoola

I spent last week travelling in Adjumani district (located in Northern Uganda) as part of an exercise in improving the quality of immunization data through support supervision and mentor-ship. This required us as a team to visit as many of the health facilities in the district as possible. Due to the limited sources of our country, we had to make do with one of the hospital ambulances as a means of transport. In between ferrying us from one health facility to another, the driver would get calls to go pick up emergency cases that required urgent transportation to hospital.

In this scenario, all the ambulance is manned by only a driver (no paramedic, no nurse) whose role is to pick you up and drop you at the nearest health facility. One of 2 ambulanes currently used by the district to transport patients during emergencies.No triage, no first aid, no prehospital care until arrival. This could contribute to the trauma mortality rates, which are already higher in rural areas before victims reach the hospital. It is known that travel time is a predictor of the outcome of an injury and as such many fatal injuries or their severity may be reduced by adequate prehospital trauma care. A previous study in Uganda found that fewer than 5% of injured patients are transported by ambulance to hospital  most of which ambulances are privately run and expensive. In neighboring Tanzania, a study evaluating access to prehospital care found there was no prehospital care in the region.

The interior of the ambulance, lacking paramedic supplies for first aid.

The interior of the ambulance, lacking paramedic supplies for first aid.

This highlights a major need to prioritize the development of prehospital trauma care if we are to address the issue of injuries. In addition, while the presence of an ambulance will reduce the travel time to hospital and thus increase the chance of survival, the ambulances themselves should be equipped with materials to offer some basic first aid during the course of transportation. They key policy and clinical practice questions we should ask ourselves should include; how equipped are the ambulances?; what should be the minimum standards a vehicle should attain before it is designated as an ambulance?

 

More background on our blogging team

19 Jun, 15 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

Blog 3: So today I wanted to share some more background on our blogging team. As an applied social psychologist, I find this information very interesting indeed!

What excites you about being part of the Injury Prevention social media editorial team?  

Sheree Bekker: The invaluable conversation that has sprung up around scholarly work through the collaborative power of social media and blogs inspires me to no end. I tend to find more relevant scholarly content through Twitter than through traditional platforms, and Injury Prevention has played a big part in that. As researchers, I believe that we should own our voice on social media, and constructively add value to this conversation.

David Bui: Through my studies in medical school I have seen the costs of injuries to society and individuals worldwide.  This is a great opportunity to harness the underutilised power of Social Media in health promotion and Injury Prevention, across multiple disciplines and multiple borders.

Angy El-Khatib: Being a part of the Injury Prevention social media editorial team is a great opportunity personally and collectively. By being a part of the social media editorial team, I am able to stay up to date on various topics within the realm of Injury Prevention while acquiring different perspectives from individuals from different backgrounds, disciplines, and locations. I’m also excited to be able to potentially increase readership and engage readers to create a conversation around the latest Injury Prevention research and ideas.

Klara Johansson: I am very interested to explore ways to share and disseminate knowledge and research results, outside the “old-school”, regular channels. I look forward to learning from my new co-editors, who all seem to be great communicators.

Joseph Magoola: The opportunity to work and collaborate with a variety of scholars on the injury prevention platform is nothing short of exciting. It also excites and inspires me to have an opportunity to represent Africa since low and medium income countries bear the brunt of the injury burden.

Julian Santaella-Tenorio: It is really exciting to be part of this team and to have a space to communicate and express ideas on ways to improve injury prevention, and to discuss about new studies and topics relevant to this field. I am very motivated to learn more and continue growing as a researcher as I walk through this experience.

What are you passionate about?

Sheree Bekker: Intersectional issues drive my life’s work, and my aim is that my research is, and always will be, an extension of that.

David Bui: Passionate about bringing people and ideas together.

Angy El-Khatib: I am passionate about translating scientific evidence and research into public health action. My goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of myself as well as my community. Outside of my work, I am passionate about health, fitness, and wellness.

Klara Johansson: Open discussions and innovative research in collaborative teams with high scientific ambition + high levels of tolerance and kindness; I also enjoy making difficult subjects understandable to students and the general population. Passions on my free time: nature, gardening, books, movies, writing fiction, playing music (clarinet, harmonium, piano, accordion).

Joseph Magoola: Writing on my social media accounts (facebook, twitter and my blog) as a way of reaching out to the masses. I am also interested travelling a lot, especially by road and as such, ensuring road safety is part and parcel of my aims to contribute towards reducing the carnage of our roads.

Julian Santaella-Tenorio: I am passionate about things that can make people have a better, healthier and happier life. I am inspired by ideas challenging previous knowledge, creative thinking finding answers from different angles, and the power of multidisciplinary groups. That is why I am passionate about public health research.

 

I hope you are looking forward to hearing from our bloggers, starting next month!

More background on our new blogging team

18 Jun, 15 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

Today I will share more about our blogging team members.

Blog 2: Explain your injury prevention research and interests.

Sheree Bekker: My research investigates safety promotion and injury prevention policy and practice within community sport in Australia. I have a particular interest in dissemination and social marketing. The overall purpose of my research is to allow people to be safe, as well as feel safe, whilst participating in sport or physical activity.

David Bui: Undertaking a number of different projects currently; my injury prevention research focuses on Hip fracture and Falls Prevention research, working with Neuroscience Research Australia. I am also looking into Social Media and its utility in healthcare and civilian settings, and I believe that it represents a powerful new medium in health promotion and injury prevention.

Angy El-Khatib: I am interested in integrating public health approaches with athletic training practice. Athletic training has traditionally focused on the individual but may be able to maximize the effectiveness of prevention efforts by using population-level approaches to improve health and wellness.

Klara Johansson: I am not currently doing research on injury/safety. But I am interested in social difference in injury risk – and also how perceived risk of injuries affects people’s daily lives, mobility, fears and physical activity; and how perceived and real injury risks interrelate with each other and with gender and socioeconomics. Main focus on adolescent safety; real and perceived. Also interested in open data and availability/accessibility of injury statistics globally.

Joseph Magoola: My research interests center around prevention of injury, especially through generation of data for evidence-based decision making and policy action. I am also interested in the use of media to disseminate research findings and for advocacy.

Julian Santaella-Tenorio: At the moment I conduct research on policy evaluation, specifically on policies that impact injury-related outcomes. I am interested in looking at substance use policies and firearm-related legislation and their effects on the health of populations.

Tomorrow: Learn about their passions!

Friday 29 May in Australia is Fatality Free Friday

28 May, 15 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

Tomorrow, Friday 29 May, is Fatality Free Friday down under. As noted on the website,

Road safety is a complex issue but we believe that if drivers consciously think about road safety and safe driving for just one Friday in the year, that day’s toll – statistically about 5.3 deaths – could be reduced to zero.

That’s our aim. Not a single road death in Australia for just one day. Just one Fatality Free Friday.

We believe that if drivers are asked to actively concentrate on road safety and safe driving for just one day in the year, they’ll drive safer for the next few days too and, over time, change their outlook completely, consciously thinking about safety each and every day they get behind the wheel.

Various events have been underway throughout Australia this week, promoting Fatality Free Friday tomorrow. I am delighted to be coordinating the Fatality Free Friday event for the Sunshine Coast region at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and I look forward to welcoming road safety partners Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Police, the Sunshine Coast Council, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and Rotary, as we engage with our community so that we may all be safer on the roads.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take the pledge to be safer drivers, signing an inflatable car; learn firsthand vehicle features which can help prevent a crash, and protect you in the event of a crash, from vehicle inspectors; engage with police officers who will be attending with a police vehicle and a police motorbike; access a breadth of road safety resources; see and hear the wake of sadness which follows a crash from a display of thongs representing Sunshine Coast community members killed in road crashes over the past five years and from stories shared by the remaining family members; and learn about efforts being taken to improve young driver road safety in particular by community groups like Rotary and a researcher (me!).

I urge everyone, everywhere, to make every day a Fatality Free Friday for all road users.

Injury prevention and Indigenous Australians

11 Apr, 15 | by Bridie Scott-Parker

Yesterday I came across a report which estimated the fatal burden of disease and injury for Indigenous Australians. Included were estimates of the magnitude of the fatal burden ‘gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The Burden of Disease Study: Fatal burden of disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010 report includes fatal burden calculations in terms of years of life lost (YLL). Noteworthy findings include

Injuries and cardiovascular diseases contributed the most fatal burden for Indigenous Australians (22% and 21% respectively), followed by cancer (17%), infant and congenital conditions (10%), gastrointestinal diseases (6%) and endocrine disorders (which includes diabetes) (5%). These disease groups accounted for 82% of all Indigenous YLL in 2010.

Deaths in infants contributed the most to Indigenous YLL. The fatal burden in Indigenous infants was largely due to infant and congenital conditions, which includes causes such as pre-term birth complications, birth trauma and congenital defects.

‘Injuries were the leading cause of fatal burden among Indigenous persons aged 1- 34, after which cardiovascular diseases and cancer were most prominent,’ said Australian Institute of Health and Welfare spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman.

YLL rates for injuries and cardiovascular diseases were almost 3 times as high in the Indigenous population.

Clearly we need to reduce the injury-related burden for all persons, and for indigenous persons in particular. It is important that we use this information to more forward to achieve that outcome – but, just how do we do this? What are the next steps? How do we start the ball rolling, and then maintain its momentum? I would argue that this is the greatest challenge facing injury prevention researchers and practitioners around the world.

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