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From the editor’s desk
  1. I B Pless
  1. Montreal Children’s Hospital and McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Pless;

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Keys to success, WHO’s world report on violence and health, Montreal Declaration, motor vehicle injuries


For success in injury prevention measured not just as doing good research and having it published in good journals (such as this), but in getting action to follow, at least two elements are needed. One is essential; the other, compelling but unproven.

Solid data are essential. You must have convincing evidence in support of the preventive measures you want adopted by whomever—your government, local community, professional group, etc. We should not take a position on a safety issue if we cannot back up that position with reasonably solid data or some other kind of credible evidence. That said, I am not suggesting that we should not press for action until the evidence is “perfect”. It never will be and we cannot hold off forever.

Papers published in journals such as this are one form of such evidence. Rarely, however, is a study beyond criticism and it is even more rare for it to be conclusive. Nor does every study have a preventive message. In fact, the implications for prevention with which we urge authors to conclude their papers are often a bit of a stretch. But most research reports are solid starting points that can lead at least to informed speculation about preventive measures. Although most of what we publish is based on data from quantitative studies, we also encourage qualitative studies because they offer useful insights. Occasionally we include case reports that initiate the research continuum.

Armed with reasonably solid evidence, the second element is stories that illustrate the message. If we want action to follow we often need to engage the media or policymakers. To do so we must learn how to tell good stories. One graphic account may be worth 1000 statistics. …

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