2013 APHA Award for Excellence

Andrea Carlson Gielen, ScD, ScM, received the APHA Award for Excellence for her work in injury prevention, particularly home safety and traffic safety interventions.

The award honors creative work that applies scientific knowledge or innovative organization to the betterment of community health.

Gielen is director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management, and professor in the school’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society. Her work spans a variety of topics including home safety, domestic violence prevention and residential fire safety. Gielen’s research interests include the development and evaluation of community and clinic-based programs that address health behavior problems affecting women and children, primarily among low-income families in urban areas.

Under her leadership, the Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy has served as a national resource for addressing injury and violence prevention as an important public health problem. She has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and co-edited the first textbook to bring a behavioral science perspective to the topic of injuries: “Injury and Violence Prevention: Behavioral Science Theories, Methods and Applications.” Among her numerous publications: a series of field observational studies of child safety helmets published in the 1980s and early 1990s that examined the impact of the child bicycle helmet law in Howard County, Md., which was the first of its kind in the nation.

Since its inception, the Johns Hopkins Children’s Safety Center, developed by Gielen and her research team, has served as a model for integrating injury prevention into hospital settings. She also led the development of a second clinic based safety center, and a third mobile safety center with partners from the Baltimore City Fire Department. The CARES, or Children ARE Safe, Mobile Safety Center travels to high-risk, underserved neighborhoods to deliver injury prevention messages and reduced-cost safety products such as car safety seats, bike helmets, safety gates, and cabinet locks. In the last five years, these three safety centers have served close to 25,000 visitors and distributed thousands of safety products.

Gielen also is known as an accomplished educator who has trained a large contingent of students who themselves have become highly accomplished scientists, educators and public health and clinical practitioners.

“She demonstrates excellence: as a scientist, teacher, mentor and advocate and as a passionate leader,” said Linda C. Degutis, DrPH, MSN, director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “She continues to impact the daily lives of people around the country and the globe through her work to take science and put it into action in the field of injury and violence prevention.”