University of Pittsburgh



The vision of the outreach core is to provide guidance to local and regional injury prevention programs and their activities by linking the technical knowledge available through university resources with programmatic needs. CIRCA performs and collaborates with local and regional stakeholders to more fully develop core functions for these organizations focused on data surveillance, data dissemination, and program evaluation.

Community outreach has been an important focus of our injury program at the University of Pittsburgh for several years. Past outreach efforts of CIRCA have focused on providing personnel, data, and consulting support to local programs, 2) service to state initiatives on injury prevention, and 3) dissemination of research findings. Historically, our injury outreach activities have been based upon the development of unique collaborative relationships with local programs, such as the Think First for Kids injury prevention program and the PA TECH’s program.

As CIRCL transitioned to CIRCA under Dr. Fabio’s leadership, a plan was carried out to have these projects continue under different institutions. For instance, TFFK and PA TECH’s are now in the capable hands of the Children’s of Hospital’s injury prevention department. CIRCA has moved its outreach activities into new directions to best meet the needs of the programs in our geographical area. Over the past few years ACISS has been transformed into Pittsburgh LINCS (Linking Injury Networks for Community Surveillance). These systems will provide surveillance reports to target injury prevention programs and research for the next phase of CIRCA.

Currently, the outreach core functions largely out of the Dept. of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (BCHS) in the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH). Dr. Albert is the Chair of the IESCH and the director of the outreach core. The effort is led by Richard Garland, MSW, Steven Albert, PhD, and Teagen O’Malley, MPH, additional Community Violence Prevention team members include faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (Todd Bear, Lora Ann Bray, Jessica Burke, and Patricia Documét) and Epidemiology (Andrea Arrington, Anthony Fabio).

Outreach Highlights

Pittsburgh LINCS (Linking Injury Networks for Community Surveillance)

The Pittsburgh LINCS Project is compiling injury-related data from many sources into one data repository and use the data to describe the burden of injuries in Allegheny County. The purpose of this effort is to provide comprehensive data on injuries to organizations involved in injury prevention, including government organizations, health-care institutions, and community-based organizations. The goal of Pittsburgh LINCS is to develop and provide a sustainable injury surveillance system for use in program planning, program evaluation, and research.

Pittsburgh LINCS will revive and expand the Allegheny County Injury Surveillance System (ACISS), which began in 1992. From 1999 through 2002, ACISS data were incorporated into Harvard’s National Violent Injury Statistics System (NVISS), the prototype for the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).

Pennsylvania Trauma Center Injury Prevention Programs

CIRCA conducted a needs assessment for the injury prevention activities of the 31 level I trauma centers in Pennsylvania. This study has recently been published (Sauber-Schatz EK, Armant TR, Weiss H. Injury Prevention Activities in Pennsylvania Trauma Centers. J Trauma Nursing 18(3):173-180, 2011). The coordinators reported that the majority of their prevention activities were in the injury areas of falls, bicycle safety, fire and burn prevention, motor vehicle safety, and alcohol and drug prevention. Most prevention programs were funded by the trauma centers themselves, with limited external support, and little ability to grow into larger programs. Key findings from the assessment were that technical support in injury prevention is urgently needed in these programs, that many activities lack an evidence base (with a real need for information on model programs), and that evaluation of programs and activities is badly needed.

Pennsylvania Injury Prevention and Control Strategic Plan

CIRCA faculty participated in the development of the Pennsylvania Injury Prevention and Control Strategic Plan through consultation and service on the Pennsylvania Injury Community Planning Group (ICPG). Dr. Songer participated in this effort as the co-chair for the group from 2005-2011 and currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee. Dr. Mertz is an active member of the Data Sub-committee in the group. CIRCA has also provided support to the Injury Community Planning Group by working with the state to identify the training needs of the local injury prevention practitioners.