Questions and Answers for Survivor Advocates:
Is there a field of “injury
prevention & control”?
Yes. There have been safety experts
working in industry for a long time. In the 1960s, Congress
created many regulatory agencies to work on safety (for
example, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission [CPSC];
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], Food
and Drug Administration [FDA]). In the 1970s, an “injury
science” emerged as a distinct interdisciplinary field of
research and practice within the public health arena.
Are people paid full time to work on
There are three major employers of
salaried people working in the injury prevention field:
governments, universities, and non-profit agencies. These
employers pay people to work on specific types of injury,
depending on the governmental mandate for their department,
grants or contracts to explore specific research questions or
programs, or mission statements of the non-profit agencies.
How can I find out who is working on
The Internet provides access to
loads of information about injury prevention. This newsletter
provides website addresses specific to the areas of interest
of survivor advocates profiled here. If your issue is not
among those profiled, the Trauma Foundation website ( or the
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control website (
can be used to start your search. Then follow the links, pick
up the telephone, call those who appear interested in your
issue, get contacts from them. This will be the foundation of
your own advocacy network.
What help can salaried injury
prevention professionals give me?
These professionals can share their
knowledge, expertise and contacts with you. They can help you
find and interpret data, brainstorm about strategies to
pursue, answer questions about the science and practice of
injury control, introduce you to their key contacts who might
be interested in helping you, and partner with you in
advocating for common goals.
Where can I get money to support me
in my work?
This is a very tough question, because
money is always tight. You can start your own non-profit
agency, so you can accept (but don’t expect) tax-free
donations from people or philanthropic foundations. This
entails lots of work. It is wise to find an advisor
knowledgeable about the pluses and minuses of doing this. You
might find an existing non-profit agency or “umbrella
organization” willing to serve as your fiscal agent and
advisor for your grants.
It may be possible for agencies to
contract with you for some specific work, but this is not
common. The budgets for most agencies and departments are
already committed to existing staff and programs. They may be
able to assist you by offering you use of office copy,
telephones and fax machines, email and Internet access. Many
injury professionals are skilled grant writers (they have to
be), and they may share this expertise with you.
Is it easy to work with injury
It is impossible to generalize here.
Most are likely be supportive. However, most have too many
projects on their desks and “to-do” lists already. They
may not feel able to devote time or energy on your project,
even if your issue and their responsibilities appear to match.
Find some enthusiastic partners, and figure out ways to
collaborate most efficiently and productively.