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San Diego Announces Trauma Research and Prevention Program


March 10, 2009  |  

Cal Firefighter and Marine Corps Flight Surgeon Share Patient Stories

Six minutes from now, someone in the United States will die from trauma.  Another victim will be permanently disabled.  Unintentional injury kills more people between the ages of one and 44 than any other disease or illness.  Physician-researchers at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center are leading the effort to stop the spread of the disease known as ‘trauma.’ 

The newly created Injury Epidemiology, Prevention, and Research Center at UC San Diego Medical Center will provide a venue for trauma surgeons, preventive medicine specialists, basic scientists, epidemiologists and public health professionals to share their expertise, perform cutting edge research, promote health, and develop injury prevention strategies and outreach. The opening of the new center will be celebrated with a kick-off party on March 12.

“This new center is a unique model for conducting research and applying the results,” explained Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD, professor of surgery and director, UC San Diego Division of Trauma, Burns and Critical Care.  “Most injury prevention programs concentrate on prevention, while basic sciences programs concentrate on bench research and most clinical programs focus on clinical research. Our approach is different. We have assembled a group of highly experienced investigators, clinicians, nurses, data specialists, and trainees, who will contribute their expertise to develop new approaches.”


Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD


Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD, director UC San Diego Division of Trauma, Burns, and Critical Care


The UC San Diego Trauma Registry will serve as the basis for the profiling of injuries, helping epidemiologists determine what factors are associated with diseases and what factors may protect people against disease. The program’s potential findings are enhanced by longstanding collaborations between the UC San Diego Divisions of Trauma and Family and Preventive Medicine, San Diego State University, the UC San Diego Supercomputer Center, the County of San Diego Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and a number of other groups involved in injury prevention.

“UC San Diego Medical Center provides the necessary setting for this rare, multidisciplinary approach,” added Coimbra.  “But it is the strength of our collaborations – across varying disciplines and at varying institutions – that will provide a solid foundation upon which to build.”

March 12th Event Details:

In celebration of the new Injury Epidemiology, Prevention and Research Center, the Division of Trauma, Burn and Surgical Critical Care, along with the Division of Family and Preventive Medicine, will host a kickoff party on Thursday, March 12, 2009, at the Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club, UC San Diego Campus, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093.

Along with remarks from medical center leaders and local dignitaries, two former trauma patients will their share stories:

  • Brooke Linman, a firefighter with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, spent weeks recovering at UC San Diego Medical Center after the October 2007 wildfires.  She has since become a mother for the second time. 
  • Eric D. Kendle MD, CEO and general surgeon, Southern Arizona Laparoscopic Surgical Associates, Lieutenant Colonel with the Arizona Air National Guard and a flight surgeon who served in Baghdad, Iraq.  Kendle says he owes his life to the UC San Diego team that saved him from severe injuries suffered while surfing in Coronado.

About the UC San Diego Regional Trauma Center:

UC San Diego Medical Center was San Diego County’s first Level 1 Trauma Center, and has provided leadership in trauma care in San Diego and Imperial Counties since 1976.  The trauma system in San Diego County, established in 1984, consists of five adult and one pediatric trauma centers, and is a national model for responding to victims of traumatic injury.  In 2004, The Surgeon General of the United States called it “the envy of the nation.”  According to the annual San Diego County Trauma System Report, the system consistently shows a 95 percent survival rate for trauma patients who are admitted to one of the designated trauma centers.

Since the inception of the San Diego County Trauma System in 1984, the preventable death rate from major traumatic injury in San Diego County has fallen from 14 percent to less than one percent.  Motor vehicle accidents still account for nearly 75 percent of the traumatic injuries in San Diego County, and over half of those who die are not wearing seat belts.

Our trauma center admits more than 2,400 patients a year who require a “Trauma Team Activation.”  This means that these patients have been identified by emergency services in the pre-hospital system to be at high risk for serious multi-system injuries.  The patients are brought directly to the resuscitation suite or trauma operating room. In some instances, patients are transferred from other hospitals to take advantage of the special facilities and highly trained personnel available at the UC San Diego Trauma Center.

By providing truly comprehensive care for trauma patients – from intensive care through intermediate care, acute care and rehabilitation – the UC San Diego Trauma Center remains committed to decreasing morbidity and mortality from traumatic injuries in the San Diego region.  

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Media Contact: Kim Edwards, 619-543-6163,

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