ACEP member Debra Houry, MD, MPH, FACEP, took on a new post as director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October. She will provide leadership to the injury center’s scientific and programmatic activities to prevent injuries and violence that kill more than 180,000 people in the United States annually.
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“She brings strong experience as a scientist and leader and has long been a partner of the injury center,” said Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, who tapped Dr. Houry for the position. “Dr. Houry’s research has focused on injury and violence prevention in addition to the interface between emergency medicine and public health and the utility of preventive health interventions and screening for high-risk health behaviors.”
Dr. Houry said the position will give her an opportunity to tackle issues she is passionate about at the national level and positively impact lives through the CDC’s work. “NCIPC has conducted groundbreaking research and worked with state health departments to decrease the burden of injury,” she said. “I’m excited to be part of this important work.”
In her first year, Dr. Houry plans to focus her efforts on prescription drug overdoses, an emerging threat according to the CDC, along with other priority areas such as motor vehicle collisions and elder falls. She is also a proponent of public education on sexual assaults and partner violence, especially in light of the recent national attention to the issue on college campuses.
Previously, Dr. Houry was associate professor in the department of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, where she was an attending physician at Emory University and Grady Memorial Hospital. She also served as the director of the Emory Center for Injury Control at Emory Rollins School of Public Health.
“My experience on the frontline of preventing injuries and violence has given me the knowledge to understand what interventions could be effective and what the sequelae of these conditions are,” Dr. Houry said. “Because of these interests, I have focused my career on injury and violence research to determine how to identify and intervene with intimate partner violence survivors as well as how to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder in patients after a severe trauma.”
NCIPC recently expanded support for key programs including the Prescription Drug Overdose: Boost for State Prevention program, which gives five states a surge of resources and direct support from the CDC to advance the most-promising prevention strategies. Another initiative, the National Violent Death Reporting System, is expanding from 18 to 32 states to enable greater collection of critical data on violent deaths to inform development of tailored prevention and intervention efforts to reduce violent deaths.
“CDC is excited to have Dr. Houry join at a time of growth and additional investment for the center around these and other critical programs,” Dr. Frieden said. “We look forward to her leadership to accelerate progress, work with partners, and prevent injuries and violence.”
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Pennsylvania.