Below is a list of active research projects.

Browse our Publications database and News page to see our latest publications. 

Adult Serious Injury Hospitalization Indicator

Despite continued reinforcement of the importance of reliable indicators for injury, there continues to be a lack of objectivity in the way injury severity is measured in adults and older adults (65+ years). Such inconsistency may impair future development of trauma triage and may compromise evaluation of trauma systems. Routinely gathered data, such as hospitalizations, may be subject to variation from sources other than injury incidence. A need for indicators to define severe unintentional injury among adults and among older adults, which may be less vulnerable to fluctuations due to changes in care, has been identified.

The purpose of this study is to develop indicators for age standardized rates of serious unintentional injury-related hospitalizations in Canada for both adults (20-64 years) and for older adults (65+ years). Injury diagnosis codes associated with severe injuries among adults and among older adults will be identified in administrative datasets to develop standardized severity indicators.

The indicators developed using this methodology can be used for the evaluation of trends in severe trauma among adults and among older adults, and will not be sensitive to changes in health service policy and practice. This research will help to evaluate trauma systems to ultimately advance the quality of injury care, and to inform the prevention of severe unintentional injuries to support people to live their most healthy lives. 

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.

Cost of Unregulated Drugs in BC

This study is in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (PSSG), who are working on developing a drug harm index of the social cost of unregulated drugs in BC. As part of performance metrics reporting, PSSG seeks to understand the return on investment and social return on investment that programs and initiatives are having on organized crime and public safety. The development of a framework for measuring the social costs associated with unregulated drugs in BC is a key component of this initiative and builds on the concept of ‘Drug Harm Indexes’ employed in other regions of the world.

A BC Index of the Social Cost of Illegal Drugs is proposed to produce an evidence-based evaluation of the shared downstream costs associated with unregulated drugs in BC. The index will assist in answering questions such as:

  1.  What are the direct health care system costs associated with interventions responding to unregulated drug use?
  2. What are the criminal justice system costs associated with unregulated drug markets?
  3. What are the societal costs borne by friends, family, and people who use unregulated drugs themselves?
  4. What are the other costs borne by the government and the wider public associated with unregulated drug markets?

BCIRPU will work on estimating the health care costs of the unregulated drugs. 

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. 

National Cost of Poisoning Study

This study is in collaboration with Parachute and Health Canada. The purpose of this study is to investigate the average societal costs of poisonings in Canada using the data for poisonings that have been seen and treated in the health care system. The objectives of the study are to:

  1. Estimate costs pertaining to health-related costs (direct costs) and productivity loss (indirect costs)
  2. Calculate the cost savings of poison centres in Canada due to avoided medical utilization, reduced hospital length of stay, and reduced work-loss days

Identifying the costs of poisoning in Canada will bring attention to the magnitude of the poisoning issue and communicate with decision-makers and policy makers to make the case for prevention. Understanding the return on investment of poison centres will communicate the value of poison centre services as a poisoning prevention intervention in economic terms and in terms of resource allocation, and to make the case for investment in poison centres. 

SHRed Concussions

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 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, or sledge hockey at the interscholastic, community, or club level. 

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

The Voices of Children and Youth (VOICES) is a CIHR-supported project to determine the efficacy of child and youth voices to inform community injury prevention policy and practice improvements. Youth are challenged through visual storytelling, combining photography, video and narratives, to identify safe and unsafe places in their community, to develop solutions to improve the situation, and to make recommendations to community leaders who can make a difference. 

The VOICES method has been applied in two communities, resulting in changes to infrastructure and knowledge transfer products designed and produced by the youth, such as YouTube videos. 

VOICES Akwesasne 

In 2020-2021, investigators and participants delivered a wrap-up presentation to the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. The final report was submitted to CIHR in April 2022. A summary booklet of the project is being prepared for the community at Akwesasne that will provide an overview of the project, key findings, and learnings.

VOICES Vancouver 

The BC site of the VOICES project is taking place in Vancouver with the Thriving Kids Care Society and their day camp community. This project is being conducted in partnership with the Society for Children & Youth of BC, and is led by Dr. Michelle Bauer, post-doctoral fellow with the BCIRPU. In 2021-2022, data collection was completed and manuscripts are being produced.