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The public policy approach to injury prevention
  1. Lyndal Bugeja1,
  2. Roderick J McClure1,
  3. Joan Ozanne-Smith2,
  4. Joseph E Ibrahim3
  1. 1Accident Research Centre, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Prevention Research Unit, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lyndal Bugeja, Accident Research Centre, Building 70, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia; lyndal.bugeja{at}

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Despite widespread application of the public health approach to injury prevention, its facilitation of the translation of injury research to practice is limited. This paper describes a public policy approach to injury prevention, derived from Kingdon's streams approach,1 which may circumvent the research-to-practice block, specifically for use by practitioners. The central premise of the proposed public policy approach is that policy action is a consequence of windows of opportunity created by the convergence of three streams: (1) problem recognition; (2) development of injury prevention policy; and (3) political will.

The role of the injury prevention practitioner is to encourage a convergence of these elements, and thus maximise the opportunity provided to galvanise policy action. Effective injury prevention relies on creating windows of opportunity and focusing resources on achieving prolonged engagement from all aspects of society. It is not intended that the public policy approach replace the existing public health model, which remains a critical paradigm within which researchers from all disciplines can develop the evidence base for practice. Rather, the role of the public policy approach to injury prevention is to facilitate the implementation of effective countermeasures.

The gap between available research evidence and effective implementation of this research by practitioners (the research-to-practice block) is an important issue that remains to be adequately addressed within the field of injury prevention.2–4 The issue is complicated by the fact that many people would consider themselves both researchers and practitioners, and there are many who do injury prevention but may not explicitly identify themselves as injury prevention practitioners.5 In this paper we use the term ‘practitioner’ to refer to any person or body with a role in injury prevention. The purpose of the paper is to explain the …

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  • Funding An Australian postgraduate award supported LB for her PhD candidature.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.