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Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research Program | PIPER

Harmonizing Child Unintentional Injury Research Through Shared Instrumentation

A project through the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR)


Funded by:  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control    (BAA) 2012-N-14308

Project lead/Primary investigator: 

  • Carol W. Runyan, MPH, PhD, (Colorado School of Public Health and Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) Program)


  • Andrea Gielen, ScD (Johns Hopkins Center Bloomberg School of Public Health)
  • Fred Rivara, MD, MPH (University of Washington School of Medicine)
  • Karin Mack, PhD (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control)

The study of injury prevention and control spans basic surveillance, epidemiology of risk and protective factors, intervention research, and most recently translational research. In each of these steps in CDC’s public health framework, operational definitions of variables and measures with good psychometric properties are essential, but arguably they are of even more paramount importance in studies that seek to understand determinants of injury -- socio-demographic, environmental, psychosocial and behavioral risk and protective factors. Such variables are also important for setting up the causal or logic models necessary to design and evaluate interventions because studies often have to rely on demonstrating positive outcomes in these precursors to actual injuries.   

 As the field of injury has grown, more investigators are examining patterns of child injury in different settings. In 2011, for example, there were more than 6000 papers listed in with a focus on child and adolescent injury. Yet, no central compendium of data collection instruments accessible to the community of researchers exists. To our knowledge there has never been a systematic compilation of measures used in injury research. What we do know is that individual studies use a wide variety of measures for constructs such as neighborhood characteristics, safety behaviors, and even “standard” socio-demographic characteristics such as race and ethnicity. Individual investigators frequently devise new instruments without the benefit of understanding what instruments have been used in similar studies. This results in less efficiency and comparability across studies than is desirable to advance the science and achieve the goals set out in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s National Action Plan.

To address this need, we propose the creation of a searchable database to make available to the community of scholars data collection instruments so that investigators can benefit from prior work and enhance consistency across studies. We are doing this by identifying articles published in the last five years on key child injury topics and abstracting information about the instruments used in those studies. Investigators are being asked to give permission to post the instruments on the Colorado School of Public Health website and confirming that database elements are correct.

The project is funded for 18 months, beginning in September 2012.

In collaboration with Children's Hospital Colorado 
School of Medicine
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