A systematic process to prioritize prevention activities: Sustaining progress toward the reduction of military injuries

Michelle Canham-Chervak*, Tomoko I. Hooper, Fred H. Brennan, Stephen C. Craig, Deborah C. Girasek, Richard A. Schaefer, Galen Barbour, Kenneth S. Yew, Bruce H. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: To sustain progress toward injury reduction and other health promotion goals, public health organizations need a systematic approach based on data and an evaluation of existing scientific evidence on prevention. This paper describes a process and criteria developed to systematically and objectively define prevention program and policy priorities. Methods: Military medical surveillance data were obtained and summarized, and a working group of epidemiology and injury experts was formed. After reviewing the available data, the working group used predefined criteria to score leading military unintentional injury causes on five main criteria that assessed factors contributing to program and policy success: (1) importance of the problem, (2) effectiveness of existing prevention strategies, (3) feasibility of establishing programs and policies, (4) timeliness of implementation and results, and (5) potential for evaluation. Injury problems were ranked by total median score. Results: Causes with the highest total median scores were physical training (34 points), military parachuting (32 points), privately-owned vehicle crashes (31 points), sports (29 points), falls (27 points), and military vehicle crashes (27 points). Conclusions: Using a data-driven, criteria-based process, three injury causes (physical training, military parachuting, and privately owned-vehicle crashes) with the greatest potential for successful program and policy implementation were identified. Such information is useful for public health practitioners and policymakers who must prioritize among health problems that are competing for limited resources. The process and criteria could be adapted to systematically assess and prioritize health issues affecting other communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S11-S18
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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