Control and Prevention of Injury and Violence: U.S. CDC

Dr. Debra Houry, Photo Credit: Dr. CDC

Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador and founder of Bioquark, interviews Dr. Debra Houry, MD, MPH, Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at the U.S. CDC.

Ira Pastor comments:

On the U.S. Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) “Ten Leading Causes of Death” list, right beneath the two major categories of heart disease and cancer, there is a category called “Unintentional Injuries” which cumulatively took the lives of over 167,000 Americans in 2018. This category consists of a variety of subcategories such as poisoning, traffic accidents, falls, suffocation, drownings, and fire, just to name a few.

When one goes to visit a parallel list, the “Ten Leading Causes of Non-Fatal Emergency Department Visits” (a non-fatal injury defined as bodily harm resulting from severe exposure to an external force or substance, including mechanical, thermal, electrical, chemical, or radiant, or a submersion), the numbers go through the proverbial roof, with over 25 million cases reported in the U.S. alone in 2018, with combined direct and indirect costs approaching ¾ Trillion dollars per year. Globally these numbers are equally staggering.

Dr. Debra Houry and Jerome Adams, US Surgeon General, Photo Credit: CDC

CDC, Preventing Injury, Violence and Fatalities:

Dr. Debra Houry, MD, MPH, is the Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at the U.S. CDC. In this role, Dr. Houry leads innovative research and science-based programs to prevent injuries and violence and to reduce their consequences.

Prior to joining CDC, Dr. Houry previously served as Vice-Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and as Associate Professor in the Departments of Behavioral Science and Health Education and in Environmental Health at the Rollins School of Public Health.

Dr. Houry also served as an Attending Physician at Emory University Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital and as the Director of Emory Center for Injury Control. Her prior research has focused on injury and violence prevention in addition to the interface between emergency medicine and public health, and the utility of preventative health interventions and screening for high-risk health behaviors.

Dr. Houry has received several national awards for her work in the field of injury and violence prevention. She was recently elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), received the first Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award from the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma, and the Academy of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine’s Researcher Award.

She is past president of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, and Emory University Senate. Dr. Houry has served on numerous other boards and committees within the field of injury and violence prevention.

Dr. Houry has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on injury prevention and violence. Dr. Houry received her MD and MPH degrees from Tulane University and completed her residency training in emergency medicine at Denver Health Medical Center.

On this episode we will hear from Dr. Houry about:

Her background and how she developed an interest in science, medicine and emergency medicine, and her journey towards her leadership role at U.S. CDC. A general discussion surrounding the “pandemic scale” of injury, both intentional and unintentional, both fatal and non-fatal, and the structures set up at CDC to address these amazing prevalence figures.


The CDC’s role in combating the opioid epidemic. The CDC’s role in combating Unintentional Falls (representing 8+ million of the above mentioned Nonfatal Emergency Department Visits) and some discussion related to the technological themes of “aging in place” and “smart home care” for the elderly that can help reduce these cases. She will also discuss the CDC’s role in combating Sexual Violence and Child Abuse and combating U.S. Gun Violence.

This interview is in American English

Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador

Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.

Follow Ira Pastor on Twitter: @IraSamuelPastor

If you liked this interview, check out our interview about suicide prevention with Dr. Christine Moutier!

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