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University of Colorado Denver

Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research Program | PIPER

People and organization

The Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) program is a joint initiative of the Colorado School of Public Health, the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Children's Hospital Colorado.

Faculty Director - Carol Runyan, MPH, PhD
As director of the PIPER program, Dr. Runyan brings over 30 years as a leader in the field of injury and violence prevention. In 1987, she co-founded the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center — a “Center of Excellence” on injury prevention —  and served for over 20 years as director.

Dr. Runyan developed the PREVENT (Preventing Violence through Education, Networking and technical Assistance) program, which has trained over 900 professionals from 44 states.

In August 2011, Dr. Runyan joined the faculty of the Colorado School of Public Health as Professor of Epidemiology with secondary appointments in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health and Pediatrics. ​

Program Manager - Sara Brandspigel, MPH
Sara Brandspigel oversees daily operations of the PIPER program, including program development, communications, and grants management.

Sara has eight years of experience in health and education organizations and a master's in public health with a focus on maternal and child health.

Prior to joining the PIPER program in February 2012, Sara led education and outreach activities for the family planning program at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. She has also 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. 

327c8dc.jpgFaculty – Ashley Brooks-Russell, MPH, PhD
Ashley Brooks-Russell will join the faculty of PIPER in January 2014 as assistant professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. 
Dr. Brooks-Russell’s research interests include adolescent risk behaviors such as dating violence, teen driving and substance use. She received her PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Faculty - Gregory Tung, MPH, PhD
Gregory Tung joined the faculty of PIPER in January 2013 as assistant professor in the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy at the Colorado School of Public Health.

Dr. Tung's research interests include policy translation in public health, with an emphasis on injury prevention and tobacco control. He received his PhD in public health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dawn Comstock.jpgFaculty – R. Dawn Comstock, PhD
R. Dawn Comstock joined the faculty of PIPER in January 2013 as associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health with a secondary appointment in the Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Comstock’s research program focuses on the epidemiology of injury among the physically active, specifically the study of sports, recreation, and leisure activity-related injuries among children and adolescents as well as the life-long health benefits associated with an active childhood.

A Colorado native, Dr. Comstock received her BS from Colorado State University in Microbiology, her MS in Epidemiology from University of Iowa, and her PhD from University of California - San Diego.  Dr. Comstock also served in The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) with an assignment at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Research Assistant - Dustin Currie, MDustin Currie.jpgPH

Dustin joined PIPER in 2013 as a research assistant working with Dr. Dawn Comstock in sports injury epidemiology. Prior to joining PIPER, Dustin worked as a research assistant with the Colorado Injury Control Research Center and the Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office.  He received his BS from the University of Denver and his MPH from the Colorado School of Public Health.​


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