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  • WVU STUDY: EXPOSURE TO AIR POLLUTION PARTICLES AT MOUNTAINTOP MINING SITES MAY LEAD TO CARDIOVASCULAR DYSFUNCTION

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A published study by researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine and School of Public Health is the first of its kind to suggest that exposure to air pollution particles from mountaintop mining sites may impair the blood vessels’ ability to dilate, which may lead to cardiovascular disease. Air pollution particulate matter consisting largely of sulfur and silica was collected through a vacuum system within one mile of an active mountaintop mining site in southern West Virginia. Adult male rats were exposed to the air particles, and, 24 hours following the exposure, their blood vessels’ ability to dilate and function normally was significantly reduced. “This is the first study of this kind to directly associate mountaintop mining air pollution with a lack of vascular function. West Virginians who live near mountaintop mining sites are exposed to comparable levels of air pollution, and, with pre-existing health conditions in West Virginia, certain populations are pre-disposed to cardiac distress,” Tim Nurkiewicz, Ph.D., associate professor in the WVU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and the Center for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences, said. “It is going to be foreseeably worse for those individuals who live near mountaintop mining sites.” This is the first of a series of translational studies, and the second phase of the study will be to examine specific bodily organs that are affected or stressed by mountaintop mining air pollution exposure, Dr. Nurkiewicz said. The study titled, “Air pollution particulate matter collected from an Appalachian mountaintop mining site induces microvascular dysfunction” was published in the journal “Microcirculation. It can be viewed online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/micc.12014/abstract. Co-authors include Travis Knuckles, Ph.D., and Phoebe A. Stapleton from the School of Medicine Department of Physiology and Pharmacology; Michael Hendryx, Ph.D., and Michael McCawley, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health; and WVU graduate students Valerie C. Minarchick and Laura Esch.

  • WVU NAMES FINALISTS FOR SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH DEAN

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences at West Virginia University, has announced the four finalists for the post of dean of the School of Public Health. They are: •    Craig N. Carter, Ph.D., professor and director of the Department of Epidemiology, University of Kentucky, Colleges of Agriculture and Public Health •    Alan M. Ducatman, M.D., interim founding dean of the WVU School of Public Health and professor in the WVU Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences •    Philip C. Nasca, Ph.D., dean and professor of epidemiology, State University of New York – University at Albany, School of Public Health •    James Studnicki, Sc.D., Irwin Belk Endowed Chair in Health Sciences Research, professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina – Charlotte “I want to thank the search committee members, led by Dean Art Ross of the School of Medicine, for their diligent work in bringing these excellent candidates to the University,” Dr. Colenda said. “I’m looking forward to introducing them to our faculty, students and staff and moving to the next stage of the selection of a dean for the School of Public Health.” Dr. Carter, a veteran of the United States Air Force, earned his Ph.D. in veterinary public health from Texas A&M University. He is a professor of epidemiology in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Veterinary Science, where he established a new section of epidemiology. Carter is also a joint faculty member in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. In 2007, he was appointed director of the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where he oversees 70 faculty and staff. He recently oversaw a two-year, $28.5 million expansion and renovation of the laboratory. His research focus is on infectious and parasitic disease epidemiology with emphasis on zoonotic diseases. As a colonel in the Army Reserve, he served as the senior public health veterinarian and Department of Defense executive agent for food and water safety for the military serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.      Dr. Ducatman is the interim founding dean of the WVU School of Public Health. He earned his M.D. degree from Wayne State University and his M.Sc. in environmental health from the City University of New York. He completed his residency training at Brown University and at the Mayo Clinic, and he is board-certified in internal medicine and occupational medicine. He served as chair of the Department of Community Medicine within the WVU School of Medicine from 1997 to 2012. His national leadership includes service as chair of the Residency Review Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Committee in Preventive Medicine. He has also served as chair of the National Environmental Health Center and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Board of Scientific Counselors through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ducatman’s research interests include occupational and environmental toxicity and prevention of diseases potentially related to environmental exposures. Dr. Nasca is the dean of the State University of New York – University at Albany’s School of Public Health and professor of epidemiology. Prior to assuming his current position in Albany, Nasca was a professor of epidemiology, chair of the department of biostatistics and epidemiology and associate dean for graduate academic affairs in the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences. He also previously served as associate dean for research in the School of Nursing. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, the Annals of Epidemiology and Public Health Reports. He is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and served as president of the college from 1995-1996. He is also a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and has been the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships and the New York State Medical Society Medal for scientific writing. Nasca’s research interests focus on etiological studies of cancers of the breast and female reproductive organs and childhood cancers. Dr. Studnicki is currently the Irwin Belk Endowed Chair in Health Services Research and professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte’s College of Health and Human Services. Studnicki holds both doctor of science and master of public health degrees from Johns Hopkins and a master of business administration degree from the George Washington University. He was the first director of the Master of Health Science Program in Health Finance and Management at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, where he served as a faculty member for 13 years. Subsequently, he was chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Management and director of the Center for Health Outcomes Research at the University of South Florida Health Sciences Center. He has been a frequent contributor to the health services research and public health systems and services research literatures. Studnicki’s research has focused on the use of large scale databases and associated information technology in analyzing outcomes at the patient, hospital and community levels. As a part of the selection process, faculty, staff and students will be invited to meet the candidates at open forums on the Health Sciences campus. Nasca will visit Oct. 8; Studnicki, Oct. 11; and Carter, Nov. 26. Ducatman’s forum will be Nov. 29. Each forum will be at 5 p.m. in the Learning Center, room 1905, except for Studnicki’s, which will occur in room 1909. After the sessions, receptions will begin at 6 p.m. in the Learning Center Commons.

  • WVU PUBLIC HEALTH STUDY FINDS SUICIDE TO BE LEADING CAUSE OF INJURY MORTALITY IN U.S.

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A published study by researchers from the West Virginia University School of Public Health and Injury Control Research Center found that suicide has now passed motor vehicle traffic crashes as the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States. Additionally, the disease rate has been declining while the injury rate has been rising. The research team, led by WVU and including scientists from nine other institutions, examined changes in injury mortality and its five leading causes from 2000 through 2009. The mortality data for 2009 were released for public use by the National Center for Health Statistics in January 2012. Ian Rockett, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor in the WVU School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology and lead author of the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, said many significant findings emerged from the study. “Suicide is now the leading cause of unintentional and violence-related injury mortality as a whole,” Dr. Rockett said. “Suicide only surpassed motor vehicle traffic crashes in the final year available for the study, 2009. The suicide mortality rate was 15 percent higher in 2009 than 2000.” In addition, the unintentional poisoning mortality rate increased by 128 percent between 2000 and 2009. “Unintentional poisoning has risen to third among the leading causes of injury mortality, a change that appears mainly driven by the enormous increase in the rate of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers,” Rockett said. While motor vehicle traffic crashes still rank second as a cause of injury death, the rate decreased by 25 percent between 2000 and 2009 and is a universal success story, according to Rockett. “Much time, attention and resources have been devoted to traffic safety,” he said. “Similar efforts will be needed for success in other spheres of injury prevention.” The fall mortality rate rose by 71 percent between 2000 and 2009. Falls now rank fourth as a cause of injury deaths and homicide fifth. The research team also reported important findings related to gender, race/ethnicity and age. The male injury mortality rate is more than twice as high as the female injury mortality rate. However, the female rate increase was more than double that for males. The injury mortality rate for whites was 20 percent higher in 2009 than in 2000. By contrast, this rate was 11 percent lower for both African-Americans and Hispanics. “Whites now have a higher rate than these two largest minority groups,” Rockett said. “Traditionally at excess risk for injury mortality, the 15-24 year age group did not stand out from the 25-74 age group. But, the 0-14 age group showed a 78 percent lower risk for injury death than the 15-24 age group, and the 75-years-and-older age group, an almost three-fold higher risk.” The article reporting this research, “Leading Causes of Unintentional and Intentional Injury Mortality: United States, 2000-2009,” was published in the Sept. 20 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Co-authors on the study include Michael Regier, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Coben, M.D.

  • DR. CHARLES L. ROSEN NAMED CHAIR OF THE WVU DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSURGERY

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Charles L. Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., has been named chair of the West Virginia University Department of Neurosurgery. Arthur Ross, III, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the WVU School of Medicine, announced the appointment on Tuesday. “Following a comprehensive search process, which provided us with the privilege to carefully consider some of this nation’s very finest academic neurosurgeons, we have concluded that the best candidate for this important job was right here at WVU School of Medicine,” Dr. Ross said. “Charles Rosen is an outstanding clinician, a gifted teacher and a well-funded clinical translational scientist. It is increasingly rare to find someone so accomplished in each of these mission-critical areas. I am pleased and delighted that Dr. Rosen has accepted this exciting challenge and look forward to the many things that this great department will achieve with him at the helm.” Dr. Rosen has been serving as interim chair of the department since September 2011. He joined the faculty at WVU in 2001 and has held various positions in the department since that time, including vice chair, director of research and the neurosurgical research laboratories, director of cranial base surgery and program director for residency in neurological surgery. Outside of the department, Rosen has served on numerous committees within the School of Medicine. He is also involved with various professional organizations and societies, including the American College of Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the North American and European Skull Base societies. He has also served as president of the Neurological Society of the Virginias. In addition, he is currently the medical director for neurosurgery at United Hospital Center, Ohio Valley Medical Center and Wheeling Hospital. “Dr. Rosen has done a great job in strengthening neurosurgical services in Clarksburg and Wheeling,” Judie Charlton, M.D., WVU Healthcare chief medical officer, said. “We are pleased to have a chair who embraces the university’s land grant mission of service to the state.” Rosen completed his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, his master’s and doctorate degrees at the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and his medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine. He completed advanced training at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He is board certified in neurological surgery. “I am humbled and honored to lead this prestigious Department of Neurosurgery,” Rosen said. “I look forward to serving the people of West Virginia through patient care, education and advances in research.” Rosen replaces the former chair of the department, Julian Bailes, M.D., who left WVU last year to become the chairman of the neurosurgery program at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill., and a professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

  • WVU NURSING PROFESSOR AWARDED $350K FOR RESEARCH

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Taura Barr, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor in the West Virginia University School of Nursing, Department of Emergency Medicine and Prevention Research Center, is one of 12 nursing educators to win a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program this year. Dr. Barr will receive a three-year, $350,000 award to promote her academic career and support her research. The Nurse Faculty Scholar award is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing. To receive this prestigious award, scholars must be registered nurses who have completed a research doctorate in nursing or a related discipline and who have held a tenure-eligible faculty position at an accredited nursing school for at least two and no more than five years. “As a nurse researcher, I seek to understand the integrated responses of biological and psychological systems within the context of the environment to change the way human brain injuries are studied and ultimately treated,” Barr said. Barr’s research centers on the use of genomics to identify biological markers of cardiovascular disease, understand their relationship with post-stroke inflammation and define environmental factors that contribute to cardiovascular health disparities in underserved populations. Barr is a research scholar in the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and actively works to put her research into action in communities throughout West Virginia. In addition to her lab studies, Barr has been facilitating gatherings of rural community members around the state, gauging their awareness of genetics and genomic medicine through discussion of their family histories. As a result, WVU has become the first institution to study genetic and genomic literacy in a rural population. The Nurse Faculty Scholars program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered through the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. To learn more about the program, visit www.nursefacultyscholars.org.

  • WVU RESEARCHERS RECEIVE $444,000 NIH GRANTr

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two researchers in the West Virginia University School of Public Health, George Kelley and Kristi Kelley, have received a $444,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of exercise on depression in adults with arthritis. Depression is a major public health problem in adults with arthritis. The title of the research project is “Exercise and Depression in Adults with Arthritis: An IPD Meta-Analysis.” WVU biostatistics professor George Kelley, D.A., will serve as the principal investigator along with research technician, Kristi Kelley, also from the WVU Department of Biostatistics, and co-investigator, Jennifer Hootman, Ph.D., from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. The specific aims of the project are to determine the overall effects of community-deliverable exercise (aerobic, strength or both) on symptoms of depression in adults with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. This is a two-year project that will look at related studies published over the past 30 years. Dr. Kelley’s team will examine previous studies for emerging trends related to exercise, depression and arthritis in adults. “The results of this first-ever project, conducted by a team of experienced investigators who have an ongoing history of successful collaboration on similar projects, will provide evidence-based recommendations regarding the effects of community-deliverable exercise on depression in adults with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. This study will provide new and important information regarding the treatment of adults with selected types of arthritis at the community level,” George Kelley said. The grant is funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which supports research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases. The grant number is RO1-AR061346.

  • WVU STUDY FINDS LINK BETWEEN HEART DISEASE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMICALS

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A published study by researchers in the West Virginia University School of Public Health has found an association between high levels of a common environmental chemical and cardiovascular disease. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also called C8, is a manmade chemical used in the manufacture of common household consumer products, including water bottles, clothing, paints, cosmetics and non-stick cookware. Surveys have shown that PFOA is detectable in the blood of more than 98 percent of the U.S. population. WVU researchers examined 1,216 subjects from the 1999-2003 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, a major program of the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The team found that increased PFOA levels were positively associated with cardiovascular disease and peripheral artery disease, independent of traditional risk factors, such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, body mass index, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol level. Anoop Shankar, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and interim chair of the WVU Department of Epidemiology, said the study is of particular importance in West Virginia because of the C8 contamination of drinking water. However, he added that this is a very preliminary study and has only discovered an association between the two not causality. “These two factors – increased PFOA levels and cardiovascular disease – are co-existing together for some reason,” Dr. Shankar said. “To determine the cause and effect, we would have to do follow-up studies over time, which we are, in fact, doing. At this point, we cannot say that one caused the other.” In the meantime, the Environmental Protection Agency and the chemical industry have agreed to phase out the use of PFOA by 2015. Shankar said he believes the chemical can be denatured and that the industry should be credited for its stewardship in phasing it out. Co-authors on the study include Alan Ducatman, M.D., interim founding dean of the School of Public Health, and Jie Xiao, M.S. The study, “Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease in U.S. Adults,” was published online by the Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday. It was supported by a National Clinical Research Program grant from the American Heart Association and grants R01 ES021825-01 and 5R03ES018888-02 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. It can be viewed online at http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/onlineFirst.aspx.

  • NEW WVU SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALLY OPENS

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The new West Virginia University School of Public Health welcomed 179 students for their first week of classes in the first new school to be created at WVU in more than 50 years. “West Virginia has historically been ranked at the bottom of the lists on many health and mental health measures and indicators,” Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., WVU Chancellor for Health Sciences, said. “This new School will be an asset to the people across the state who are working to solve our health problems.” The students are enrolled in three graduate degree programs: Master of Public Health (122), M.S. in School Health Education (35), and Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences (22).  The School includes five disciplines of study: biostatistics; epidemiology; health policy, management and leadership; occupational and environmental health sciences; and social and behavioral sciences. Along with the new students, the School welcomed 13 new faculty members. “Our new faculty now add to the teaching and research repertoire of our new School,” Alan Ducatman, M.D., interim founding dean of the School of Public Health, said. “We will soon be graduating job-ready students who will become leaders in public health and producing research that makes a difference in people’s lives.” At an event Friday celebrating the launch of the new School, Dr. Ducatman also announced that six faculty scientists have recently received significant grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. They are studying issues that include chronic kidney disease in our region, exercise and obesity in adolescents and youth driver safety. The new School of Public Health also includes three federally funded centers: the West Virginia Rural Health Research Center (one of only six such centers nationwide), the Injury Control Research Center (shared with the WVU School of Medicine), and the Prevention Research Center. Some public health programs previously existed in the WVU School of Medicine. The M.P.H. degree had been offered since 1997 and since 2008 had doubled enrollment. “The time was right to take this step; we already had in place about 80 percent of the faculty and other requirements needed for a nationally accredited school here,” Chancellor Colenda said. “The new School will have a positive impact on the future for generations of West Virginians.” The WVU School of Public Health is now in the process of earning accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health through a rigorous, two-year self-study process.

  • WVU HEALTH SCIENCES GETS $19.6 MILLION RESEARCH GRANT FROM NIH

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University has been awarded a $19.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will be used to address the health issues that most commonly affect West Virginians. The grant to the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) is part of the NIH Institutional Development Award Program for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR). The federal program provides funding for the development of infrastructure and to enable scientists to become more competitive for NIH and other biomedical research funding opportunities over the next five years. Clinical and translational research is defined as research intended to move quickly from the laboratory to the patient – commonly referred to as bench to bedside – that more directly and specifically affects patient care. In addition to the NIH grant, other leading educational, health sciences and healthcare entities from across the state have committed to providing another $33.5 million to the WVCTSI, to make the total initiative worth an unprecedented $53.1 million over the next five years. The partnership includes the West Virginia University Health Sciences Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health; WVU Healthcare and the West Virginia United Health System; Charleston Area Medical Center, CAMC Institute and WVU-Charleston; the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and more. “This NIH grant serves to instantly propel WVU Health Sciences onto a higher level as a research institution,” Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for WVU Health Sciences, said. “I consider this one of the greatest accomplishments to have occurred in the history of WVU Health Sciences. It will help us to transform lives and eliminate the health disparities in the state.” Colenda said the grant would pay for infrastructure – the people, equipment, programs and protocols – that would qualify WVU for more and greater NIH grants in clinical translational research that would fund specific disease-related studies to target cancer, heart disease, stroke and obesity related diseases. Under the grant, 24 physician scientists will be hired over the next five years, along with 22 other staff and professional positions. The principal investigator for WVU is Uma Sundaram, M.D., director of the WVCTSI. “Here, as at many other health centers, there is excellent research and excellent patient care. What we need is a stronger connection between the two,” Dr. Sundaram said. “WVCTSI will become that connection. What that means for the patient is a new approach and new options for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.” The other state partners in the grant include the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the College of Human Resources and Education, School of Journalism and the College of Business and Economics; the WVU Research Corporation; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; and the Governor’s Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning (GO HELP). The grant will allow the WVCTSI to establish collaboration among the in-state partners, and with other institutions that already have established and NIH-funded programs in clinical and translational research, such as the University of Kentucky, Ohio State University and Indiana University, who were all part of WVU’s grant application. “This is about improving healthcare and improving lives,” Jim Clements, Ph.D., WVU president, said. “It is about our flagship, land-grant, research university mission. We could not be more proud or more humbled to be a part of this great initiative, and I congratulate those who worked so hard to make this happen.” The grant required a 472-page application to the NIH. With this award, WVU will join an elite group of institutions committed to improve human health by streamlining science, transforming training environments and improving the conduct, quality and dissemination of clinical and translational research. “This award represents an excellent opportunity for West Virginia University to lead the establishment of the research infrastructure and capacity necessary for conducting productive clinical and translational research programs in the state,” said Sidney McNairy, Ph.D., D.Sc., an IDeA program official at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The National Institutes of Health, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov. The grant number for the WVU IDeA-CTR is U54GM104942.

  • WVU INJURY CONTROL RESEARCH CENTER RECEIVES $4.1-MILLION GRANT FROM THE CDC

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center (ICRC) has just been awarded a five-year grant totaling $4.1 million to continue as one of 11 such federally funded centers of excellence for injury prevention research, education and outreach in the nation, according to the funding agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “We are very honored and excited to receive this generous funding from CDC,” Jeff Coben, M.D., WVU ICRC director, said. “The level of competition for these awards was very high and we are deeply appreciative of the many partners and collaborators who participated in our application.” The WVU ICRC was cited by CDC reviewers and officials both for its outstanding contribution to the advancement of injury prevention during the past five-year funding period and for its innovative proposal for 2012 and beyond.   Under Dr. Coben’s leadership, the ICRC has enhanced scientific discovery through its research program, improved the capacity of the injury prevention field through its education and training program and increased public awareness of injury control and strengthened injury prevention practice through its outreach program.   For example, ICRC faculty members have authored or co-authored more than 400 research articles and nearly 300 presentations at scientific conferences over the past four years alone. The ICRC has attracted new researchers and students to the injury field; developed partnerships with injury prevention programs throughout the region; worked to provide policymakers with information on potential safety regulations; and established and addressed Center research and prevention priorities. Those priorities include pressing injury problems, such as motor-vehicle-related injuries, unintentional drug overdoses and poisonings, falls among the elderly, occupational injuries, traumatic brain injuries, suicide and self-harm and intimate partner violence. For the 2012-2017 grant period, the WVU ICRC plans include new research studies that will evaluate the implementation of an evidence-based fall prevention program for the elderly, evaluate the effectiveness of cell phone texting laws, develop improved drug overdose surveillance and epidemiology and assess suicide data quality and underreporting. The ICRC’s education and training program plans to expand injury-related course offerings and programs, implement innovative field experiences for students and recruit additional students into injury and violence prevention and control programs to meet the national need.   The ICRC outreach program will expand its partnerships with state violence and injury prevention programs throughout the Appalachian region, translate research findings to prevention-oriented guidelines and policies, and provide technical assistance in the public health disciplines to its injury prevention partners. “Our Center is uniquely situated and equipped to address injury priorities and provide technical assistance and support to our injury prevention partners in West Virginia and throughout the Appalachian region, while contributing to the broader effort as one of a national network of ICRCs,” Coben said.  The CDC-supported network of ICRCs includes currently funded programs at Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of North Carolina and Washington University in St. Louis. Within WVU, the ICRC is positioned as a resource under the joint oversight of the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health.   Nearly 30 faculty members from throughout WVU are affiliated with the Center.  Twenty additional faculty affiliates from other universities and research institutes in the U.S. and abroad are also affiliated with the ICRC. “We have a responsibility to help ensure the good health of the people of West Virginia and beyond,” Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences, said. “This CDC grant will allow the ICRC to continue its fine work addressing the safety and health issues that affect us most.” The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) of CDC initiated the ICRC program in 1987 in order to develop centers that conduct high quality research and help translate scientific discoveries into practice for the prevention and control of fatal and nonfatal injuries, violence and related disabilities and serve as training centers as well as information centers for the public.