Bhalla, Kavi

Public Health

Safety by Design: Preventing injuries in developing countries by improving the quality of motorcycle helmets

Recent increases in motorcycles have contributed to traffic crashes emerging as the leading cause of death for young adults in developing countries. While helmets are among the few effective interventions for motorcyclists, global reviews show that most helmets in developing countries have not been certified for head injury protection. Thus many national and international agencies are investing substantial efforts to eliminate uncertified helmets and increase helmet use. However, uncertified helmets are substantially cheaper and there is little empirical evidence of their poor performance.

We will conduct impact tests on a representative sample of helmets sold in developing countries and evaluate their safety performance. Next, we will compare the additional cost to individuals of buying a certified helmet with the expected health gain (DALYs averted) and compare this to other health investments. We will also evaluate population-level health effects of potential increase or decrease in helmet use due to the interaction of helmet prices and enforcement of standards. Finally, we will assess if it is possible for uncertified helmets to provide substantial protection through adequate head coverage and foam thickness alone.

In order to establish a sustainable funding stream for helmet research and development at JHSPH, we will do preliminary research on two topics. We will develop a proof-of-principle prototype for a low-cost, portable, rapid helmet test device (indicating head form) intended for use in a field setting (such as a helmet store). We will also conduct preliminary research on a generalizable methodology for identifying appropriate helmet test conditions for different countries.   

Nathan Scott, PhD, Whiting School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering ; Kent Stevens, MD, MPH, School of Medicine, Department of Surgery , Adnan Hyder, MD, PHD, Public Health, International Health

People

Caitlin Kennedy, PhD MPH,BA

Co-Director, MPH concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health; Associate Director, Center for Qualitative...

Robert Bollinger Jr., MD MPH

Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE); Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Global...

Joanne Katz, ScD MS,BSc

Associate Chair, Director of Academic Programs

Stefan Baral, MD MPH,MBA,MSc

Director, Key Populations Program

Noreen Hynes, MD MPH

Director, Geographic Medicine Center of the Division of Infectious Diseases

Yukari C. Manabe, MD

Associate Director of Global Health Research and Innovation
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November 2018

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