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

Am J Prev Med. 2010 Jan;38(1 Suppl):S11-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.10.003.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / methods*
  • Health Policy
  • Health Priorities / standards*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Military Medicine / methods*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*