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WVU center gets federal grant to study injury prevention


A West Virginia University center known for its work on all-terrain vehicle fatalities will be tackling the subjects of injuries to the elderly and domestic violence prevention.

WVU’s Injury Control Research Center has secured a $4.4 million grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has been named one of 13 national Centers of Excellence by the CDC.

The grant runs through 2012, and Director Jim Helmkamp said the center already has plans to begin two major studies with the grant.

The first study, to be run out of Morgantown, will focus on injuries to the elderly common types of injury, the cost of treating those injuries and possible methods of prevention.

West Virginia has one of the oldest populations in the country, making it an ideal location for a study of this kind, Helmkamp said.

Along with the University of Colorado and McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, the center will also spend about five years conducting a study of domestic violence, and whether it can be reduced by regular home nursing visits.

Some domestic violence groups believe visiting nurses can detect abuse before emergency room doctors or police officers.

“There’s a lot about domestic violence that we’ve yet to uncover,” said Sue Julian, team coordinator for the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Nurses who make home visits see a lot that health care clinics and physicians in offices don’t see.”

In addition, Helmkamp said the center might start other projects, as well as continuing to focus on ATV-related fatalities.

“I feel obligated to the state to provide as much detailed information as I can on ATV deaths,” he said.

Every year in West Virginia, Helmkamp said, nearly 1,200 people die from injuries, and another 17,250 are hospitalized. Nationwide and in West Virginia, injuries are the fourth leading cause of death.

– Associated Press

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