Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center Names New Director

The Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC), located on the Harborview Medical Center campus, is a worldwide leader in injury research, education, outreach, and training. Founded in 1985, HIPRC is supported by the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. HIPRC faculty and staff are devoted to programs aimed at diminishing the personal impact of trauma and broadening the effectiveness of injury prevention and treatment programs regionally, nationally, and internationally. The Center, with its interdisciplinary faculty, has a clear focus on work in traumatic brain injury, safe transport, trauma care and violence, development and evaluation of prevention programs, and training of next generation leaders in the field. 

HIPRC directs its programs toward groups at greatest risk of injury: children, the elderly, the poor, underrepresented minorities, and residents of rural areas. HIPRC aims to reduce the rates of injury and death among these groups from unintentional events such as car crashes and drowning and from purposeful acts such as suicide and murder. Efforts span the continuum of medical care, from epidemiological research to determine injury causes, to acute care of trauma patients, to rehabilitation in the hospital and home. HIPRC works to: 

  • Translate injury research into policy. 
  • Develop and evaluate new injury prevention programs using behavior change, education, government action, and environmental modification. 
  • Use principles of biomechanics to study injury causes and treatment. 
  • Develop more effective ways to resuscitate and treat injury victims. 
  • Improve rehabilitation strategies. 
  • Train new investigators in injury research and educate health professionals, policy makers, and the public about trauma’s magnitude, costs, and prevention. 

Stakeholders in the University of Washington School of Medicine, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Social Work and UW Medicine selected Monica S. Vavilala, MD as director for HIPRC effective April 1, 2014. 

Dr. Vavilala is Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics and Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery and Radiology at the University of Washington. She received her undergraduate education from the University of Houston and her medical degree from University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. She completed two residencies, her first in pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School and the second in anesthesiology at the University of Washington. Dr. Vavilala is an expert in the care of injured patients, has authored over 150 peer reviewed publications related to injury, and is internationally known for her work in traumatic brain injury. As a 20 year faculty member in the UW School of Medicine, she has mentored over 27 fellows across UW, has current research support from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, and is the co-director of the NICHD sponsored UW Pediatric Injury Training Program. 

Dr. Vavilala is the first anesthesiologist in the nation to lead an injury research center and the only anesthesiologist on the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines working group pertaining to the acute care management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury. "Dr. Vavilala brings to the Center the energy and commitment to move it ahead and keep it at the forefront of injury research and prevention," said Dr. Frederick P. Rivara, UW Professor of Pediatrics and founder of the Center.

NCAA-DoD Grand Alliance: Concussion Assessment, Research and Education (CARE) Consortium – Longitudinal Clinical Study Core

The NCAA-DoD Grand Alliance: Concussion Assessment, Research and Education (CARE) Consortium has announced a new $30 million Longitudinal Clinical Study Core that will be the most comprehensive study of concussion and head impact exposure ever conducted. Sara D. Chrisman,MD, MPH, Acting Assistant Professor, Pediatrics – Adolescent Medicine, and Faculty member of HIPRC will be participating in this study as one of the 12-15 university and military sites.

The study will be ongoing from 6/1/2014-5/31/2017. For more information, visit the website: http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/ncaa-dod-launch-concussion-study

Dr. Rowhani-Rahbar selected to join START Program
Congratulations to Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, MD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at University of Washington School of Public Health and Core Faculty and Director of Methods Core, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. Dr. Rowhani-Rahbar has been selected to join the faculty at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-sponsored Strategic Analysis, Research and Training (START) Program. START is a multidisciplinary research team at the University of Washington that provides rigorous and timely research to Global and Domestic Programs at the Foundation.  

HIPRC Faculty Offer Tips for a Safe Summer & 4th of July
HIPRC faculty Dr. Brian Johnston offers summer safety and injury prevention tips for adults and children in an online UW publication, The Whole U. The article also highlights HIPRC faculty Dr. Beth Ebel’s distracted driver study and the dangers of texting while driving. Read the complete article online at: https://www.washington.edu/wholeu/2014/05/30/summer-safety/

Congratulations to Harriet Saxe
Harriet Saxe will be the new Manager of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. Harriet has previously worked for HIRC for two years as a research coordinator.

Pediatric Research Consultant
Malaika Schwartz, MPH, Research Consultant in Pediatrics will work with Marni Levy and Dr. Fred Rivara through the summer. Her email is malaika@uw.edu.

2014 Summer Students
Nine medical students and residents will be joining HIPRC during the summer. Contact Harriet Saxe (harriet2@uw.edu) if you need assistance with your projects and would like to work with them. Please let us know so that we can coordinate space and include them in HIPRC events. Please join us June 13th at Noon for the pizza welcome party.

Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week
The week before Memorial Day has been designated National Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week, marking the 10th anniversary of this observance. The theme for RWII Prevention Week 2014 is “Healthy and Safe Swimming: We’re in it Together.” It focuses on the role of swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials in preventing drowning, pool chemical injuries, and outbreaks of illnesses. It highlights swimmer hygiene and the need for swimmers to take an active role in helping to protect themselves and prevent the spread of germs. For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/rwi/rwi-prevention-week/


April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

In an HIPRC study to examine driver use of electronic devices, UW investigators saw that more than 8 percent of drivers were engaging with such devices behind the wheel, higher than previously estimated.


Thousands of individuals are injured or killed each year because people continue to use their cell phones while driving, handheld or hands-free.

Talking and texting on a handheld device is illegal in WA. It puts lives at risk and officers are actively enforcing these laws.

Join the National Safety Council by taking these simple steps to stay safe:

  • Don’t use cell phones to text or talk while driving.
  • Talk with the people you love about the risks of distracted driving and agree to follow the law.
  • Set an example for your kids by putting your phone away when the car is running.


In the News:

UW NEWS: A new study from HIPRC faculty member, Dr. Melissa Schiff, shows that girls often play soccer through concussions.







New Grant Awards:

PI: Ali Rowhani-Rahbar
Sponsor: Royalty Research Fund
Title: Mental Illness and Risk of Subsequent Injury, Crime, and Death Following First Firearm-Related Injury: A Translational Epidemiologic Investigation



PI: Vijay Krishnamoorthy
Sponsor: Washington State Society of Anesthesiologists (WSSA) Seafair Education and Research Grant
Title: Evaluation of Cardiac Dysfunction after Traumatic Brain Injury












Distracted Driving

New Research!




HIPRC Happenings:

Calendar of Events

WIP Schedule

Faculty/Staff Intranet