Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center Names New Director


The Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC), located on the Harborview Medical Center campus, is a worldwide leader in injury research, education, outreach, and training. Founded in 1985, HIPRC is supported by the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. HIPRC faculty and staff are devoted to programs aimed at diminishing the personal impact of trauma and broadening the effectiveness of injury prevention and treatment programs regionally, nationally, and internationally. The Center, with its interdisciplinary faculty, has a clear focus on work in traumatic brain injury, safe transport, trauma care and violence, development and evaluation of prevention programs, and training of next generation leaders in the field.

HIPRC directs its programs towards groups at greatest risk of injury: children, the elderly, the poor, underrepresented minorities, and residents of rural areas.  HIPRC aims to reduce the rates of injury and death among these groups from unintentional events such as car crashes and drowning and from purposeful acts such as suicide and murder.  Efforts span the continuum of medical care, from epidemiological research to determine injury causes, to acute care of trauma patients, to rehabilitation in the hospital and home. HIPRC works to:

Translate injury research into policy.

Develop and evaluate new injury prevention programs using behavior change, education, government action, and environmental modification.

Use principles of biomechanics to study injury causes and treatment.

Develop more effective ways to resuscitate and treat injury victims.

Improve rehabilitation strategies.

Train new investigators in injury research and educate health professionals, policy makers, and the public about trauma’s magnitude, costs, and prevention.

Stakeholders in the University of Washington School of Medicine, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Social Work and UW Medicine selected Monica S. Vavilala, MD director for HIPRC effective April 1, 2014.

Dr. Vavilala is Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics and Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery and Radiology at the University of Washington. She received her undergraduate education from the University of Houston and her medical degree from University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. She completed two residencies, her first in pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School and the second in anesthesiology at the University of Washington.  Dr. Vavilala is an expert in the care of injured patients, has authored over 150 peer reviewed publications related to injury, and is internationally known for her work in traumatic brain injury. As a 20 year faculty member in the UW School of Medicine, she has mentored over 27 fellows across UW, has current research support from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, and is the co-director of the NICHD sponsored UW Pediatric Injury Training Program.

Dr. Vavilala is the first anesthesiologist in the nation to lead an injury research center and the only anesthesiologist on the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines working group pertaining to the acute care management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury. “Dr. Vavilala brings to the Center the energy and commitment to move it ahead and keep it at the forefront of injury research and prevention,” said Dr. Frederick P. Rivara, UW Professor of Pediatrics and founder of the Center.