Injury Prevention & Outreach Program

About the Program

The Massachusetts General Hospital Level 1 Trauma Center, one of the busiest trauma centers in Massachusetts, treats more than 2,500 adults and children each year. The majority of these patients have suffered critical injuries resulting from serious falls, motor vehicle crashes, bicycle crashes and violent encounters.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), injuries and violence are the number one cause of death for individuals ages 1-44 in the United States, costing more than $406 billion annually in medical care and lost productivity. While some injuries are truly accidents and cannot be prevented, many injuries can be prevented. The CDC reported that seatbelts saved an estimated 255,000 lives between 1975 and 2008.

Improving the Health and Safety of Our Communities

The Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Program comprises a group of trauma specialists from the Mass General Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, Mass General for Children, the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Mass General Sports Concussion Clinic who work in partnership with state agencies and other public health groups to reduce injuries among Mass General patients and in the greater community.

We research the impact of state laws designed to reduce injuries, implement evidence-based interventions to reduce injuries following hospitalization by changing risk factors and health behaviors to improve long-term well being. We also partner with the community to share expertise and advocate for policies to prevent injuries.

Our Initiatives

Injury Prevention Research
  • According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. We are studying the impact of the Massachusetts Graduated Driver License (GDL) program on the incidence of crashes, injuries and fatalities, as well as associated costs. The GDL is designed to phase in driving privileges for teen drivers to reduce their risk for crashes
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries can pose serious short- and long-term consequences for those injured. Massachusetts passed a law in 2010 to try to prevent and reduce the negative consequences of youth sports concussions. Mass General is studying the impact of that law on pediatric primary caregiver attitudes and practices
  • We aim to reduce elder falls by connecting patients to services that will help improve mobility, reduce risk factors to falling, encourage participation in physical and social activities, as well as programs to improve balance. According to the CDC, tai chi and other exercise programs for older adults have been shown to reduce falls by as much as half among participants
  • Alcohol and substance abuse are associated with 30-40% of trauma cases. We help patients by connecting them with short- and long-term counseling and treatment services in their community
Advocacy and Outreach
  • We support the establishment of the primary safety belt law in Massachusetts. Safety belt laws have been shown in other states to reduce motor vehicle crashes
  • Window falls among children remain a serious and preventable public health issue. We support a law to require window guard installation in public housing units at or above the second floor
  • We partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston YouthConnect program that works to prevent youth violence. Mass General offers ongoing workshops and expertise on a variety of topics, and the Mass General Department of Psychiatry also provides clinical evaluations for some YouthConnect clients
  • We share our work with the trauma and public health communities through publications, presentations and events

Community Partnerships

An important element of our injury prevention work is outreach and partnership with our community. We aim to be responsive to requests to provide expertise from Mass General clinicians and be a member of coalition groups organized to address injury prevention issues.

Our partners include: