ABOUT THE ICRC
ICRC: A history of injury prevention and rehabilitation
Injury is the leading cause of death for those under age 44. In the United States alone, more than 5 million life years are lost annually to injury.1 In 1988, recognizing the need to understand how injuries happen and what can be done to lessen their effects, the UAB School of Medicine formed the Injury Control Research Center. The next year, under the leadership of director Dr. Russ Fine, the Center won its first major research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ICRC’s relationship with CDC has continued and expanded over the ensuing years.
From the beginning, the goals of the ICRC have been twofold – reducing the likelihood of death from injury by studying prevention approaches, and increasing the level of post-injury function by studying responses, and rehabilitation strategies and techniques. One of the center's first projects, the ICRC Core Research Program, began collecting data on injured research subjects in 1989 and still continues collecting follow-up data on those patients annually. The data are helping scientists and clinicians understand the factors that contribute to longevity and enhanced quality of life in permanently injured people. Other projects have covered a broad spectrum of injury research topics, including prediction and prevention of youth violence; motor vehicle fatality intervention; and improving outcomes for burn, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury survivors. In all, the UAB ICRC faculty conducted 62 projects between 1990 and mid-2004, 58 of which were completed by late 2003. In fall 2004, the Center won another 5-year grant from the CDC to research issues along the theme Injury over the Life Course. (Click here for our Current Research page.)
The UAB ICRC faculty includes researchers from many disciplines, combining their expertise to find solutions to injury-related problems: prevention, acute medical, surgical and nursing care, rehabilitation, biomechanics, epidemiology, biostatistics, health promotion, evaluation, information dissemination, and the social and behavioral sciences. Nearly 100 university faculty members from three universities – UAB, UA and Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) - are directly affiliated with ICRC, and more than 60 of those are currently involved in ICRC-related research and activities. The ICRC emphasizes sharing its findings with the injury community and the public as a whole, and its faculty has produced hundreds of peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and formal scientific presentations in the past decade alone. (Click here for our Publications page.)
In 2002, drawing on its long success as a collaborative research center, ICRC sponsored a meeting of scientists that resulted in the formation of the Southern Consortium for Injury Biomechanics. The SCIB brings together scientists from across the nation to work together toward a common research goal: A better understanding of how the mechanics of the body work in response to injury situations, with an emphasis on the interaction of body and machine during motor vehicle crashes. With a greater knowledge of what specifically leads to injury during those crash events, scientists can interact with automobile designers and engineers, industrial designers, and traffic engineers to reduce the potential for human injury and death. (Click here for the SCIB website.)
In 2006, recognizing the UAB ICRC’s track record of excellence in research and innovation, the United States Department of Transportation named the Injury Control Research Center as one of eight new University Transportation Centers ( http://utc.dot.gov ) to be funded through DOT’s Centers of Excellence initiative. The UAB ICRC will be the only UTC associated with a medical school, and its biomechanical research emphasis is likewise unique to the UTC program. The $2 million will fund research from FY 2006 through FY 2009. This research will support National and State transportation goals as well as the UAB UTC’s theme of Traffic Safety and Injury Control. (Click here for the UTC website)
Under the leadership of Drs. Fine and Goldman, the ICRC continues to build on its successes and plan for the future. Leveraging its CDC funding support, the ICRC has secured significant additional funding from the State of Alabama, National Institutes of Health, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), various foundations and UAB itself – a total of more than $22 million from all sources since 1988. Its sponsored and affiliated research continues to break new ground in the injury and biomechanics fields. We invite you to learn more about the UAB Injury Control Research Center by clicking on any of the links to the left.
1 This is calculated by subtracting the years lived from the life expectancy for each person who has died as a result of injury before they reach that age. Thus, a man of 37 who dies in a farm accident who would have been expected to live to 72 has lost 35 life years.
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