RWJF Scholars Honored for Pioneering Work in Injury Prevention Research

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hails RWJF scholars and others for their transformative work to prevent injury and violence.

Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program director

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this fall named four Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars among the 20 most influential leaders in violence and injury prevention in the last 20 years. 

The recognition comes as part of a project conducted by the CDC to mark its 20th anniversary. The CDC’s “20 for 20” project pays tribute to “the leaders and visionaries who have had a transformative effect on the field of violence and injury prevention.”

The awards “point out [the] importance of the injury field, an area that has not received a great deal of funding from private foundations or the federal government,” said Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH, an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program who was among the 20 leaders honored.

The honorees were selected by a panel of their peers and were recognized at a dinner held in conjunction with the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting, according to Gail Hayes, a spokeswoman for the CDC’s Injury Prevention Center. These leaders are “injury prevention pioneers,” she said. “Their efforts provide a strong foundation to build our knowledge about what is needed to prevent injuries and violence and keep our families and communities safe.”

Among the honorees are three alumni of the Clinical Scholars program, which fosters the development of physicians who are leading the transformation of health care in this country through positions in academic medicine, public health and other leadership roles.

A fourth honoree—Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN—is program director of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program, which works to develop the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing through career development awards for outstanding junior nursing faculty.

The only nurse among the 20 honorees, Campbell has conducted seminal research in violence prevention. A key accomplishment is a tool used by first responders to better predict whether a battered woman would end up being killed by her partner or ex-partners.

Over her career, she has also been engaged in advocacy and policy work and has helped mentor numerous emerging nurse researchers. Campbell is the Anna D. Wolf Chair and a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing with a joint appointment in the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read more about her work here.

The alumni of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program who were honored by the CDC are:

• Frederick Rivara, a professor of pediatrics and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, a clinician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and editor-in-chief of JAMA Pediatrics.

In a career spanning three decades, Rivara has studied topics including traumatic brain injuries, prevention of pedestrian injuries, youth violence, the epidemiology of firearm injuries, intimate partner violence, interventions for alcohol abuse in trauma patients, and the effectiveness of trauma systems in the care of pediatric and adult trauma patients.

He is best known for his research into the effectiveness of bicycle helmets in preventing head trauma and for his advocacy work to promote the use of bicycle helmets—models that have been copied in the United States and around the world. Rivara was a Clinical Scholar from 1978 to 1980.

• Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, FACEP, holds the Paul O’Neil Alcoa Chair in policy analysis at the RAND Corp., is a former professor of emergency medicine, and has nearly three decades of experience in clinical, public health and policy research.

Among his most notable work is groundbreaking research about the effects of guns in the home. In 1986, Kellermann published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that found that firearms kept in homes were many times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used to kill in self-defense. The study ignited a firestorm of criticism from the gun lobby and contributed to a national debate about gun safety and gun control.

“I was both gratified and somewhat surprised to be designated by the CDC,” Kellermann said. “It’s a gutsy decision to even remind people” about this study and his subsequent body of firearm injury prevention research, which energized advocates on both sides of the gun control issue.

Kellermann went on to establish the Center for Injury Control at Emory University and secured its designation as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Injury Control and Emergency Health Services.  In 2000, he was inducted into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  Prior to joining RAND in 2010, he was a professor and associate dean for health policy at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, where he founded Emory’s Department of Emergency Medicine. He was a Clinical Scholar from 1983 to 1985 and an RWJF Health Policy Fellow from 2006 to 2007.

• David Grossman, MD, MPH, is a senior investigator at the Group Health Research Institute and a medical director for population health management and purchaser strategy at Group Health Cooperative, a consumer-governed non-profit health care system in Seattle. He continues to serve as a practicing pediatrician and is also a professor of health services and an adjunct professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Earlier in his career, Grossman was an investigator at and director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, one of the original CDC-funded injury control centers of excellence. An expert in Native American health, Grossman has special research expertise in areas of injury control such as adolescent suicide prevention, safe storage of firearms, and motor vehicle injuries.

This year, he published a study in the American Journal of Public Health that found that gun lockers help improve firearm storage behavior in Alaska Native villages. The study helped build a case for community-based interventions in this area to improve firearm storage by reducing the proportions of guns that are left unlocked or loaded.  He also helped establish one of the first crash and injury network centers sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Grossman was a RWJF Clinical Scholar from 1988 to 1990.

“I feel very honored, to be thought of as someone who’s moved the field,” Grossman said.