A unified framework for injury control: The public health approach and Haddon's Matrix combined
Injury specialists have not successfully convinced policy makers and the public that injuries can be controlled. That failure may be due in part to the lack of a unified understanding of injury control. The two most important models utilized in injury control are Haddon's Matrix1 and the Public Health Approach (PHA). This paper argues that the PHA should be combined with the two axes of Haddon's Matrix to result in a model that is coherent and comprehensive. Thus it is better than either one of the original models on their own. Haddon's Matrix has two axes. The first includes elements of the epidemiological triad, host, vector, and environment and likens injury to disease. The second axis includes three time intervals, pre-event, event, and post-event. The importance of including time was that injury was conceptualized as predictable and preventable. The weakness of Haddon's matrix is that it lacks a systematic plan of action. The Public Health Approach is a methodology for addressing injury, which consists of a hierarchy of four levels; surveillance, risk factor identification, intervention evaluation and program implementation. The use of the PHA with no specific orientation or means of application is its weakness. The PHA lacks a systematic point of application. Haddon's Matrix lacks a systematic action plan. Therefore we propose the PHA as the systematic strategy for the more theoretical framework of Haddon's matrix. By combining these concepts a coherent and comprehensive three-dimensional framework is defined. The unified model closes the potential gaps in the two original models and includes a systematic approach not previously achieved. This unified model is practical in defining individual studies and groups of studies. It can be used as an inventory, for a complete understanding of a particular injury. Diagrams of the model are presented to help teach the concepts of injury described in this unitary model. In conclusion, we can say that the inclusion of three injury concepts in one framework provides a rigorous and coherent construct for the understanding of injury and implementation of control activities. It can therefore be used to design more comprehensive programs for injury control and promote policies and funding commensurate with the magnitude of the injury problem.
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