Researchers at BCIRPU and UBC are conducting a study to improve recognition and management of sports-related concussion in children/youth. Surveillance in High Schools to Reduce Concussions and Consequences of Concussions (SHRed Concussions) is a three-year longitudinal, Canada-wide, cohort study aimed at reducing the burden of sport-related concussions (SRC) and their consequences across youth sport populations. Researchers are recruiting high school athletes (ages 13-17) who participate in school or club sports associated with a higher risk of concussion; specifically: basketball, football, ice hockey, ringette, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, volleyball, cheerleading, wrestling, alpine skiing, or sledge hockey).
Participants will be asked to complete various assessments over the course of the study, and any participant who sustains a concussion will have access to accelerated concussion care by being immediately scheduled to see a sports concussion specialist. Recognizing and treating symptoms as soon as possible will allow for faster and safer return to school and sports.
This study is being led by the University of Calgary and is funded by the National Football League (NFL) Scientific Advisory Board. Researchers at BCIRPU are coordinating and implementing SHRed in Vancouver. To get involved, visit the SHRed Concussions study page.
VOICES of Children and Youth
Injury is the leading cause of death for First Nations children and youth; strategies and solutions for reducing the burden of injury are critically needed. The Voices of Children and Youth (VOICES) demonstration project is unique in its integration of First Nations youth in addressing community injury priorities, supporting the community to work with their information and programming, and exploring how effective mainstream prevention initiatives may be adapted to First Nations settings.
Guided by a local project lead, the VOICES research team follows the community’s lead in addressing local injury prevention, and makes expertise, tools, technology, and research guidance available to community members. VOICES upholds the guiding principles of OCAP (ownership, control, access, and possession) regarding data collection, and recognizes and respects Indigenous ways of knowing.
Through VOICES, youth are engaged in Visual Storytelling—they combine photography, video, spoken and written narratives, and geographic mapping to capture their experiences and provide a platform for the community to identify and target selected issues. This method has been applied in two First Nations communities, as well as a general population mainstream setting. The result has led to changes to infrastructure and knowledge transfer products designed and produced by the youth, including YouTube videos.
Youth receive training in photography, journalism, writing, first aid, fire prevention, and other injury prevention topics. VOICES incorporates community-based participatory research to advocate for change by balancing power between Indigenous community members and policy makers, facilitating a sense of community ownership, fostering trust, and responding to cultural preferences.
The relationship between injury, opioid prescribing and overdose and overdose death
Using a large linked administrative dataset from PopDataBC, the goal of the project is to better understand the pathway and risk factors between an injury and an illicit drug overdose event. Specifically, this project aims to determine whether opioid prescription, opioid agonist therapy, the injury being work-related, and profession affected the risk of overdose.
A key deliverable of the BC Injury Prevention Committee (BCIPC) is to make recommendations for the use of specific indicators that monitor the overall burden of injury in BC as well as the impact of prevention initiatives. BCIPC undertook a rigorous mixed-method approach and a 3-round Modified Delphi process to identify provincial injury prevention priorities, which were approved by PHPPAC in January 2017. These included: 1) Seniors falls, 2) Transport-related injuries (young drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicle occupants) and 3) Youth suicide and self-harm. In support of the priorities, BCIPC undertook an additional Modified Delphi process to identify a suite of indicators (metrics) that would serve to monitor the performance of prevention initiatives in these areas. The development of the indicators suite also serves to inform the development of a data management framework and policy-relevant whole-system reporting.
To improve injury surveillance in BC, a mixed-methods approach was initiated to identify key indicators that will serve to monitor the performance of injury prevention initiatives. A total of 44 indicators were developed, which fit into three general categories: road safety, seniors falls, and other injuries. These 44 indicators were determined to be highly valued in terms of their ability to prompt decision and action by the BC Injury Prevention Committee, which has the provincial mandate to provide guidance and recommendations on injury prevention to the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Officer. Each indicator has been carefully specified, with regards to variations of the indicator, such as by age group or health authority, its justification, data required and method of calculation, definitions of relevant terms and limitations, as well as how the indicator will be used.
Injury surveillance using linked data has been identified as a critical requirement by the BC Observatory for Population & Public Health partnership, including regional epidemiology leads, Medical Health Officers, and endorsed by the Public Health Executive Committee. The injury data mart, which will provide the secure facility for data linkage, has been identified as a critical need for the population and public health injury prevention work plan. The indicators identified will be populated into this injury data mart.
CHild Active-transportation Safety and the Environment – the CHASE Program of Research
The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “…children have the right to the highest attainable level of health and the right to a safe environment, free from injury and violence.” Active transportation, such as walking and biking, is a healthy way for children to explore their environment and develop independence. However, children can be injured while walking and biking. Many Canadian cities make changes to the built environment (e.g., traffic calming features, separated bike lanes) to reduce injuries. While there is some research on how effective these changes are in preventing injuries in adult pedestrians and bicyclists, very little research has been done to better understand how these interventions are implemented locally, and in which contexts they are successful.
The CHASE program of research is investigating the built environment and active transportation safety in children and youth in order to identify facilitators and barriers for implementing built environment changes which affect child pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and active transportation at the municipal level. This multi-site program of research is being conducted in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The Vancouver portion of this study is undertaking key informant interviews of people that are or have been involved in the implementation of built environment change.
The CHASE project is unique—study investigators are partnering with injury prevention professionals, provincial governments, public health bodies, environmental organizations, and traffic safety professionals to help better understand which features of traffic environments are dangerous or safe. This research will inform changes for making walking and biking safer for children and youth.
Learn more on the University of Calgary’s website
COVID-19 and Injuries
Public health measures aimed at protecting Canadians from the spread of COVID-19 appears to have placed children and youth in particularly vulnerable situations.
In the early days of the pandemic, Kids Help Phone calls in Vancouver increased drastically, as did as the number of reported domestic incidents, sexual assaults, and a rise in reported gun violence in Toronto. In addition, COVID-19 policies, including the closure of schools and disruption of community programming, influenced where and how C&Y spent their time and how they interacted with their environments. This almost certainly changed the normal patterns of unintentional injury, and in particular the experience among marginalized populations.
The Raising Canada 2020 Report states that children and youth and low socioeconomic groups have suffered disproportionately as a result of COVID-19 policies; the number one threat being preventable injury. For example, lower-income individuals were more often to be essential front-line workers working outside the home during the pandemic, with the potential to impact child supervision, mobility, and participation in activities outside the home. It is important for ongoing injury prevention efforts to understand how the pandemic restrictions may have changed the patterns and frequency of child and youth injury, which are indicative of the negative effects of the policies on the ability of child and youth to engage in their typical healthy activities of daily living.
With grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, researchers at the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, (a partnership of BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, PHSA, and University of British Columbia), together with investigators from British Columbia and Ontario, will be collaborating to investigate inflicted and unintentional injuries among children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this research is to evaluate the extent to which each phase of the COVID-19 stay-at-home and physical distancing policies affected rates of inflicted and unintentional injuries in children and youth, compared to the pre-pandemic period in both BC and ON. The study will also examine how COVID-19 policies affected injuries in different neighbourhoods.
City of Surrey Fire Department
Since 2016, BCIRPU has collaborated with the City of Surrey, City of Surrey Fire Service, and the University of the Fraser Valley, on a number of projects related to home and fire safety. Topics include:
- Effectiveness of smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in the home;
- Trends and patterns of firefighter injuries;
- Determining risk factors of residential fires;
- Anti-idling technology of fire engines in order to use data-driven approaches for improving fire safety and fire service;
- The relationship between injury, opioid prescribing, and overdose and overdose death;
- Risk factors for firefighter injuries;
- The incidence and circumstances of cancer and work-related injury among female firefighters;
- Fire severity outcome comparison of apartment buildings constructed from combustible and non-combustible construction materials;
- The National Burden of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Buildings; and,
- Fire Fighters & Local Government Workers Risk of Asbestos Exposure and Related Morbidity.
Female Firefighter Study
The purpose of this project is to describe the incidence and circumstances of cancer and work related injury among female firefighters. Self-reported information was solicited via online survey from females currently or previously working in the fire service in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Australia, and elsewhere. Acquiring this knowledge is important for developing and evaluating health and wellness policies; designating resources; and designing screening, surveillance, and prevention strategies to make the workplace safer for, and more supportive of, females in the fire service.
Firearm-related incidents in BC result in large health care and criminal justice system costs to society, according to a new publication by BCIRPU researchers.
BCIRPU has collaborated on a number of projects related to home and fire safety, and the health and wellness of firefighters.