The University of Pittsburgh offers an array of courses and degree programs with an injury focus at the graduate and undergraduate level. The curricula in these schools provide meaningful opportunities for students to build skills in injury prevention, acute care and rehabilitation studies, and to pursue degree programs in these areas.
Our academic training seeks to provide introductory knowledge and skills in injury epidemiology and injury prevention and control. A specific focus on training in injury is possible through study in the Department of Epidemiology in the Graduate School of Public Health through the department’s “areas of concentration”.
CIRCA faculty have been active in research mentoring for several years. A key component of interaction between CIRCA and University of Pittsburgh faculty has been in the area of research mentoring. The vast research resources of the University of Pittsburgh allows for unique opportunities to expose students at all educational levels to injury and violence research. As written previously, the vast research resources of the University of Pittsburgh allows for unique opportunities for students at all educational levels to be involved in injury and violence research. At present, over ten students are currently enrolled in our programs and being mentored by one or more of CIRCA faculty.
An emerging component of our training core is the development of training materials for use by local, regional, and national professionals in injury practice. Our training materials (outlined below) have been and are being developed to address the specific learning objectives outlined in the Core Competencies for Injury and Violence Prevention (Songer, et.al., Amer J Pub Hlth, 2009, 99(4):600-606:). The competencies were developed specifically to guide future training efforts. As one example of how the competencies have been used in our development process; note that the modules linked below have been developed to address the learning objectives in Competency 1; Describe and explain injury and/or violence as a major social and health problem. Other training materials will be designed to address the key objectives outlined in Competencies 2, 3, 4, and 5.
The focus of our community-based training efforts has been driven by the results of a recent training needs assessment conducted in the State of Pennsylvania by the CIRCA team, and a review of other assessments across the world. With funding from the PA state injury program, a training needs assessment of Pennsylvania professionals was undertaken in 2008 to guide the Pennsylvania Injury Community Planning Group (ICPG) in: understanding the skill levels of the practicing injury and violence prevention professionals in Pennsylvania; understanding the perceived training needs of this group, prioritizing training opportunities; and identifying potential barriers to the Commonwealth’s capacity building efforts.
Over 196 individuals from diverse injury and violence prevention initiatives in Pennsylvania were invited to participate in this assessment. These initiatives covered state and local government agencies, state health improvement plan partnerships, trauma center injury prevention coordinators, child health groups, and advocacy and victims organizations.
Results from the assessment indicated that most professionals believed that they needed additional training to gain and maintain currency in their knowledge and skills. These individuals identified the following topics as the areas where training activities should be focused:
- Finding and using evidence to guide program development;
- Implementing injury and violence interventions;
- Techniques for building, managing and evaluating injury and violence prevention programs; and
- Designing injury and violence prevention interventions.
Pennsylvania professionals indicated a preference for proposed methods of training involving short, one-day workshops attached to other meetings, internet-based training, and technical assistance via access to injury experts. Potential barriers to engaging in training opportunities identified by the respondents included travel over large distances to attend a learning session, the inability to be away from work for longer than 1-2 days, and the financial cost of learning.
Drs. Ricci (director) and Keane are key members of the institute and CIRCA and offer a new and unique opportunity for CIRCA to develop training materials focused on evaluation. This element of our training plan is currently under development. The initial goal, however, is to develop training components specific to logic models, their development and use. This training will be the building block for the local and regional professionals to use for the development of their own agency-specific logic models. It is our perspective that understanding of several evaluation core elements is poor in most local and regional programs, and instruction not only on the elements, but also on their integration into these programs are what the community partners in Pennsylvania need foremost. Logic models will be a key part of getting this evaluation started. Future training components will center on what is necessary to evaluate specific programs.