School of Population Health

Safeguarding the next generation: using data to map and address injury-related harm in adolescence

Image Amy Peden

Dr Amy Peden from UNSW School of Population Health is seeking to safeguard the next generation by developing an alcohol and injury prevention intervention for rural youth.

Dr Peden’s work to date has largely focused on preventing drowning—in particular, exploring the impact of geographical remoteness and alcohol on drowning risk. Through her new National Health and Medical Research Council Emerging Leadership Fellowship, she is expanding on this work to include other causes of unintentional injury-related harm, while specifically focusing on adolescents. 

Injuries are preventable and adolescence is a key life stage at which to intervene, says Dr Peden. 

“Embedding safe behaviours in adolescence not only reduces the risk of injury and death during these formative years, but also reduces injury risk across the adult years—and even into the next generation,” she said.

Dr Peden will use data to map injury-related harm and the impact on the health system. Her project also explores alcohol availability with a rural and remote lens. 

The findings will inform a co-design process to develop adolescent-driven injury prevention interventions in rural New South Wales. 

“It’s really important to me to design rural and remote interventions with adolescents living in these areas,” Dr Peden said. “Too often, interventions trialled in the city are transplanted into the country.”

Dr Peden says the funding means the world to her. “As a first-generation university student who was born and raised in rural NSW and public school educated, it really shows that despite the challenges we may face, we can still succeed,” she said.

“I know first-hand how deprived rural communities are of many major services, so I hope, through this research, I can develop effective, tailored solutions for these communities; and to work with adolescents to create these interventions is going to be great fun.”

Dr Peden also hopes her work can extend to help other countries in the Western Pacific region that are resource-poor and experience high injury burden. 

Dr Peden is co-convenor of the School’s course, Injury Epidemiology, Prevention and Control’ (PHCM9792), an elective in the Master of Public Health and the Master of Global Health, running in T1 in 2022 – read more.

Read more about Dr Peden.