Injury and Violence Prevention

Why choose a certificate program in Injury and Violence Prevention?  Did you know that each year well over 100,000 people in the United States are shot with firearms, and roughly 40,000 of these people die. The US has more civilian firearms in circulation than the next 25 highest nations combined and a firearm death rate that is 25 times the average of other high-income nations. Historic pandemic gun sales have meant record-breaking profits for publicly traded US gun companies, while 2021 was the deadliest year on record for gun violence in the US. There have been over 200 mass shootings in 2022 alone. These dire trends are observed in our communities, schools, cities, and small towns where shootings have increased precipitously. Indeed, gun violence is now the leading cause of death among children in the US and people of color continue to be disproportionately impacted. We live in a nation where there is no time to process one gun violence tragedy before we are faced with yet another. Gun violence is arguably one of the most devastating public health crises of our time, impacting individuals across the life course and in communities across the country. Its toll impacts every aspect of our lives, and university communities across the nation are uniquely positioned to make a difference.

Injuries overall are the leading cause of death among Americans ages 1 to 44 and beyond firearm related injuries other important causes include car crashes, fires, falls, drownings and poisoning – all highly preventable.  Health disparities are evident in most of these injury categories and this certificate program intersects discussion of social and political determinants of health and interventions at the individual and societal levels.  The 20th century heralded amazing advancements in the reduction of injuries such as motor vehicle crashes, so understanding the science of injury prevention is critically important in impacting health status of all communities, and especially disadvantaged and disenfranchised communities.  Sign up for this certificate program and engage in the leading discussions of policy and practice of the 21st century.  This Certificate will enable students to develop a working knowledge of the determinants of injury; understand and apply key theoretical approaches including the framing of injury from a health equity perspective; identify measures, data sources, and issues in the measurement of major injury outcomes; and learn how to conduct injury surveillance. Students will also apply general epidemiologic and specific injury analytical methods in the design and evaluation of injury studies and evaluate injury reduction initiatives, taking into consideration laws, policies, program evaluations, and cost-effectiveness analyses.

Using Epidemiology as the base department in collaboration with Sociomedical Sciences, population and Family Health, and Health Policy and Management, students will pursue the required courses and also have the flexibility to choose elective courses related to analysis/methodology, programming, and/or research.  In addition, this certificate program is housed within the Columbia Center for Injury Science and Prevention – a CDC funded Injury Research Center that is a university wide effort including the partnership of the Columbia Public Health with the Schools of Law, Teachers, Engineering, Physicians & Surgeons, Social Work, Journalism and Nursing.

Admissions Eligibility

The Injury Prevention and Control Certificate is open to Columbia MPH students in:

The Competencies for this Certificate are as follows:

  1. Appraise the relative contribution of injury and violence mechanisms as leading contributors to the total health burden and to population-level health disparities
  2. Apply a systems thinking approach to assess determinants of injury and violence and develop a working knowledge of how to incorporate systems thinking into prevention programs
  3. Employ major theoretical approaches to injury and violence reduction and communicate how they shape laws, policies, interventions, and programs
  4. Analyze key components of an effective surveillance system, injury and violence tracking challenges, and the role of timely monitoring in injury and violence prevention program evaluation
  5. Propose responses to challenges facing injury science research and practice and identify ongoing and emerging issues in injury and violence prevention with particular attention to equity, justice, safety culture, and common risk and protective factors

Learn More

Visit the Certificates Database to learn more about core and credit requirements.

Sample Courses

Health Care to Vulnerable Populations

The current systems for the delivery of health services in the United States often fall short of addressing the health needs of many people and in so doing contribute to health status disparities. The objective of this course is to help students develop a framework to understand the needs of traditionally under-served populations and the challenges facing the delivery systems that handle these groups. This course has two major foci. The first is understanding who the “vulnerable” populations are as it relates to access to needed health services and disparities in health status. The interaction between health care systems and health care disparities will be explored. Particular attention will be paid to issues surrounding racism, poverty, literacy, immigrant health care and several vulnerable sub-populations including LGBTQIA+, homeless individual and those incarcerated. The second focus is service delivery for individuals traditionally under-served. This component includes an examination of organizations and provider (particularly physician)-patient relationships. Students will have the opportunity to move from the classroom to the street, observing, first-hand, several hospital and community-based arrangements.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response

This course is designed to provide training and education on the public health response to large scale emergencies and disasters. Students receive an in-depth introduction to surveillance, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from natural and man-made emergency events and learn how to develop, implement and evaluate public health emergency preparedness and response plans. Course topics will include local, state and federal emergency preparedness policies and coordination, public health counter-measures, the conduct of drills and table top exercises, crisis communication strategies, legal/ethical considerations, psychological impacts of disasters on communities and populations, community resiliency, and planning for the needs of particularly vulnerable populations.

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