Research at the Injury Prevention Center is focused on reducing injuries through prevention and educational programs that serve the community. Our researchers design, implement and evaluate innovative interventions that reduce injury among children and adults. Such interventions may target violence prevention, a safe home environment, safety in recreational activities, or responsible driving. Our research guides the development of action plans used for teaching the community about injury prevention. Public awareness and education is a critical step in our programs’ success.

Connecticut Injury Surveillance System

Lapidus (PI), Campbell , Rogers, Borrup, Gallo, Saleheen

We collect and maintain several large databases to describe the epidemiology of injury among Connecticut residents. The data include:

  • Connecticut death certificates (1996-2010), all ages, all causes
  • Connecticut Hospital Discharge Data (1990-2006, persons <20 years, all causes, 2006-2010 all ages, all causes)
  • Connecticut Hospital Emergency Department Visits (1995-2006, persons <20 years, all causes, 2006-2010, all ages, all causes)
  • Connecticut Motor Vehicle Crash File (1999-2010)

Our geographic information system (GIS) allows us to spatially analyze and map fatal and non-fatal injuries at the county, town, census tract, census block, or street address level. Our GIS system also allows us to integrate and correlate injury data with other geographic, census, and economic data. Injury surveillance information is disseminated broadly via newsletters, fact sheets and the Internet.

Identifying risk factors for ATV injury among children (a multi-state study)

Campbell (PI), Borrup, Saleheen, Lapidus

This is a study of children ≤15 years of age who sustain injuries while driving or riding on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that require hospitalization.  A 27-item survey collects:

  • Demographic,  temporal and location information
  • Previous experience riding at crash location
  • Riding position
  • Presence of passenger
  • ATV use
  • ATV riding experience
  • ATV description, presence of adult supervision
  • Immediate cause of crash, estimated speed
  • Use of protective equipment
  • ATV ownership
  • Helmet ownership
  • ATV instruction
  • Town and county of residence
  • Attitudes toward ATV injury prevention and continued riding

Descriptive statistics are calculated for all variables for each study site. Comparisons between sites are analyzed using appropriate statistical methods. Pooled data will be analyzed to determine risk factors and circumstances contributing to injury. Study sites include: Connecticut Children's Medical Center (Hartford, CT), UMass Memorial (Worcester, MA), and Arkansas Children's Hospital (Little Rock, AR).

The Mature Driver Safety Study: A randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of a community-based screening and referral initiative using AAA’s Roadwise Review

Lapidus (PI), Fortin-McCue, Saleheen, Borrup, Chaudhary. Funded by Connecticut Department of Transportation and Jefferson House.

Motor vehicle crashes among mature drivers age 65 and older is an important traffic safety and public health issue. Accurately assessing declines in driving abilities and relating them to increased crash risk has been a goal of traffic safety professionals for many years. This is a randomized, controlled trial that aims to determine the efficacy of a community-based screening and referral initiative.

This study will determine the referral compliance rate and self-reported changes in driving behavior (e.g., reduction in nighttime, bad weather, or high-volume roads driving) among mature drivers who complete AAA's Roadwise Review screening, compared to a group who receive driver educational materials and are delayed screening for one month.

Investigating Pediatrician Beliefs and Practices in Youth Suicide Prevention

Woods (PI), Rzepski, Borrup, Rogers, Lapidus 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has provided clinical guidelines for assessing suicide risk and providing care to suicidal adolescents. However, research has yet to investigate pediatrician attitudes, practices, and reported barriers in response to child and/or adolescent suicidal behavior. The specific goals of this study are to:

  • Provide descriptive information on pediatrician attitudes, practices, and reported barriers when working with children and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation
  • Identify the degree to which pediatrician attitudes and knowledge of risk factors for suicidal behavior influence the extent to which pediatricians implement interventions and identify barriers for children and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation

Primary, cross-sectional data will be collected from pediatricians across the state of Connecticut, obtained from an online survey sent to all pediatricians who have an email address registered with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Eligible participants will also be sent a link to complete the survey through the monthly posting of the Connecticut AAP e-newsletter. Descriptive data will be collected describing demographic characteristics of the population (e.g. age, gender, race, professional training, primary practice site), attitudes, knowledge, intervention practices, and barriers to working with children and youth reporting suicidal ideation. 

Responses will be scored on a Likert-type rating scale. Pediatricians will also respond to open-ended questions examining risk factors perceived to be most closely related to suicide risk and specific ages in which a patient may have completed suicide, as well as the age in which pediatricians begin assessing for suicide risk.

Information obtained from this study will confirm or disconfirm the importance of feelings of confidence and awareness for risk factors when intervening to improve mental health outcomes for children and adolescents reporting suicidal ideation.

A Pilot Descriptive Study of Behavioral Health Patients in the Pediatric Emergency Department

Rogers (PI), Lapidus, Borrup, Kaminer, Mangini, Parker, Brinkley. Funded by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Friends.

The specific aims of this initial pilot descriptive study are to:

  • Describe the demographic characteristics, diagnosis, and disposition of adolescent behavioral health patients presenting to the pediatric emergency department (PED)
  • Describe the subset of adolescent patients with suicide and ideation/attempt presenting to the PED
  • Determine the baseline proportion of caregivers who receive PED means restriction discharge instructions for their adolescents with suicidal ideation/attempt
  • Determine the feasibility, ease, and completeness of abstracting data from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Intake and Evaluation form

The Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Family Violence on Epigenetic Processes in Newborns

Grasso (PI), Briggs-Gowan, Ford,Covault, Connor, Hagadorn, Lapidus, Campbell, Johnson

This pilot study will examine genotype and methylation status of FKBP5 in two samples of children recruited as newborns from Hartford Hospital. A stress-exposed group will comprise 50 newborns whose mothers endorsed exposure to domestic violence during pregnancy at pre-screening prior to enrollment. Comparison sample mothers (n = 50) will have reported no prenatal domestic violence. We will collect DNA from several sources (i.e., cord blood, peripheral blood, saliva, buccal) and will examine their degree of concordance in genotyping children and mothers and measuring FKBP5 gene methylation.The degree of FKBP5 methylation in children and mothers will be compared as a function of trauma exposure and genotype. Given a 30-40% prevalence of the risk allele, we estimate that 15-20 children and mothers in each group will be risk carriers.

Determining the Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence at Community Hair Salons

Lapidus (PI), DiVietro, Beebe, Grasso, Borrup

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a serious health problem in the United States. Implementing health related screening programs outside of healthcare facilities in community settings (e.g., local health departments, schools, health fairs) is common public health practice.  To date, IPV screening in community hair salons has not been reported. The purpose of the study is to determine the prevalence of IPV among women receiving services at a community hair salon. If women report IPV in hairdressing facilities, that would support the need for programs such as ―Cut it Out, a national program designed to train hair stylists how to recognize and refer IPV victims. We hypothesize that women will disclose IPV in this setting and that acute trauma from abuse will be 0-1%, past year prevalence of IPV (physical or sexual) will be 10-15% and the lifetime prevalence of physical abuse will be 30-40%.

Intimate Partner Violence/Dating Violence policy & practice at Connecticut Colleges/Universities

Lapidus (PI), Jarmoc, DiVietro, Beebe, Grasso, Borrup

In collaboration with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), we  conducted a 30-item survey to describe the current policies and practices on intimate partner violence/dating violence among colleges and universities in Connecticut.  The assessment, sought to better understand existing campus policies and procedures, the presence of awareness and prevention activities on campus and the availability of services for victims.