The Program for Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) is a joint initiative of the Colorado School of Public Health, the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Children's Hospital Colorado.
View our faculty's in-depth research profiles and publication histories by clicking on their names.
Carol Runyan, MPH, PhD, PIPER Program Director
Carol Runyan, MPH, PhD brings over 30 years as a leader in the field of injury and violence prevention to the program. She founded PIPER when she joined the faculty of the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) in 2011 as Professor of Epidemiology with secondary appointments in Community and Behavioral Health and Pediatrics (School of Medicine “SOM”).
In 1987, Dr. Runyan co-founded one of the longest operating and most successful injury control research centers in the nation, the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center — a “Center of Excellence” on injury prevention — and served as director for over 20 years. Her research has shaped state and national policy, identified priorities, and broken new scientific ground, publishing more than 130 refereed papers and 30 book chapters in the process.
Dr. Runyan has mentored dozens of graduate students, fellows, and junior faculty and has been an innovator in training the injury workforce. She was the chief architect of the National Training Initiative, a joint effort of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) and Safe States Alliance. This initiative resulted in the creation of a set of core competencies for injury and violence professionals and in 2003, Dr. Runyan developed the PREVENT (Preventing Violence through Education, Networking and Technical Assistance) program, which has trained over 900 professionals from 44 states. Her research has addressed numerous topics including adolescent worker safety, safety in the home environment, and violence prevention.
She was honored with the first Excellence in Science award from the American Public Health Association and was the first recipient of the Home Safety Council’s Research Award. In 2012, Runyan was recognized by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control as one of the most influential leaders of the injury field over the past twenty years.
Marian (Emmy) Betz, MD, MPH
Marian Betz, MD, MPH is trained in emergency medicine and epidemiology, with a research focus on traffic safety and suicide. She is an attending physician at the University of Colorado Hospital, as well as Assistant Professor of both Emergency Medicine (SOM) and Epidemiology (CSPH); she completed medical and public health training at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Betz was recently awarded a Paul Beeson K23 award from the National Institute on Aging for her work to develop a tiered assessment system for older drivers. She has served as an invited member of national workgroups to develop guidelines for suicide prevention by emergency providers and currently serves as an elected section councilor for the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section of the American Public Health Association. She is the 2014-15 President of the Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine (part of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine).
Ingrid A. Binswanger, MD, MS, MPH
Ingrid A. Binswanger, MD, MPH, MS is an internist and health services researcher with special expertise in substance abuse. She is Associate Professor of General Internal Medicine and an Affiliated Member of the Division of Substance Dependence (SOM). Dr. Binswanger completed her MD and Internal Medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco. She obtained research training in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and received her MPH at the University of Washington.
Dr. Binswanger leads the Primary Care Research Fellowship and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Scholars Program. Her research focuses on overdose epidemiology and prevention and on improving the health of high-disparity populations. She sees patients at Denver Health’s Gipson Eastside Family Health Center and Addiction Research and Treatment Services and actively collaborates with Kaiser Permanente Colorado.
Ashley Brooks-Russell, MPH, PhD
Ashley Brooks-Russell, MPH, PhD has expertise in social and behavioral sciences, including intervention development and evaluation. She joined the PIPER faculty in January 2014 as Assistant Professor of Community and Behavioral Health (CSPH) and has an MPH from Case Western Reserve University and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in health behavior.
As a postdoctoral researcher in the Prevention Research Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Brooks-Russell studied trends and risk factors for youth violence, modifiable risk factors for underage drinking and driving, and the increased risk of crashes associated with peer passengers and distracted driving. Her interests include developing interventions tailored to community-based and clinical settings, with a focus on adolescents.
R. Dawn Comstock, MS, PhD
Dawn Comstock, MS, PhD has expertise in sports injuries. An Associate Professor of Epidemiology (CSPH) and Pediatrics (SOM), she has an MS in Epidemiology from the University of Iowa and a PhD in Public Health and Epidemiology from the joint program at the University of California – San Diego and San Diego State University.
Dr. Comstock is a nationally recognized expert in sports and recreation injury surveillance, epidemiology, and prevention. She has 94 refereed publications and is the originator of the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System (High School RIOTM), which serves as the official surveillance system of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Her data have been used to drive federal, state, and non-governmental sporting organizations’ policy decisions. Dr. Comstock is also an experienced teacher and has mentored more than 25 young researchers including high school, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, and residents/fellows.
Carolyn DiGuiseppi, MD, MPH, PhD
Carolyn DiGuiseppi, MD, MPH, PhD contributes special expertise in systematic review and testing of community-based strategies to prevent injuries and violence. Professor of Epidemiology and of Community and Behavioral Health (CSPH) and Pediatrics (SOM), she trained in Pediatrics and General Preventive Medicine at the University of Washington, where she received her MPH degree in epidemiology. While a senior research fellow at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, in the U.K., she completed her PhD in injury epidemiology.
Dr. DiGuiseppi spent more than five years as Science Advisor, then Senior Policy Analyst, in the federal government, earning several US Public Health Service special recognition awards. Her research has focused on trials of community-based injury prevention interventions, with current interests including prevention of falls and motor vehicle injuries in older adults and suicide, publishing more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly reviews. She serves on the editorial boards of Injury Prevention and the Cochrane Collaboration Injuries Review Group, directs the CSPH preventive medicine r sidency program, holds residency training grants, and served as Deputy Director of the ICRC at Colorado State University. Eric Jon Sigel, MD
Eric Sigel, MD, a pediatrician, specializes in Adolescent Medicine with a research focus on violence prevention. He is Associate Professor of Pediatrics (SOM), directing the fellowship in Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Sigel received his MD and completed his pediatric residency at Case Western Reserve University, and Adolescent Medicine fellowship at Harvard.
Dr. Sigel has created a violence risk screening tool that has increased primary care providers’ abilities to detect violence risk in adolescent patients and completed a K01 award from the CDC’s NCIPC to further study violence screening. He is a co-investigator on an Academic Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, in collaboration with the University of Colorado-Boulder Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, and is PI of an RCT from the National Institute of Justice to address adolescent firearm access. He serves on the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine’s Violence Prevention Advisory Group, and works with numerous community-based organizations, including the Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver.
Gregory Tung, MPH, PhD
Gregory Tung, MPH, PhD brings a focus on policy translation and implementation, including the use of health impact assessments as a tool for community level change. Dr. Tung is Assistant Professor of Health Systems, Management and Policy (CSPH), having earned an MPH and PhD in health policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Tung is especially interested in the incorporation of scientific evidence and community input into decision making related to injury prevention policies and programs. He is experienced in conducting health impact assessments (HIAs) to inform policy decisions and is currently engaged in collaborations with multiple community-based organizations. Dr. Tung also has a growing research focus on nonprofit hospital community benefit activities. He is teaching students in both the CSPH and Nursing School about health policy, drawing on his experiences as a hospital administrator, and serves as Blog editor for the international journal, Injury Prevention.
Sara Brandspigel, MPH, Program Manager
Sara Brandspigel, MPH has ten years of experience managing public health and education programs and has overseen daily operations of the PIPER program, including program development, communications, and grants management, since early 2012.
Prior to joining PIPER, she led education and outreach activities for the family planning program at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and served as development director for Heads Up, an educational enrichment program for underserved youth in Washington, DC, and project manager at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. She received her MPH with a focus on maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina.
Dustin Currie, MPH, Professional Research Assistant
Dustin Currie, MPH joined PIPER in 2013 as a professional research assistant working with Dr. Comstock in sports injury epidemiology. Prior to joining PIPER, Dustin worked as a research assistant with Dr. DiGuiseppi through the Colorado Injury Control Research Center and also with the Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office. He received his MPH from the Colorado School of Public Health.