Dr Julie Brown

TEAM LEADER PROFILE

Senior Research Fellow, NeuRA ARC APDI Fellow
NHMRC Career Development Fellow
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, School of Medical Science, UNSW

+612 9399 1632


Dr Julie Brown’s (BSc PhD) background in policy development and her research strength is providing translatable injury prevention outcomes. She uses laboratory and field-based studies, as well as data analysis, to investigate injury mechanisms, and the factors important to injury outcome. Since joining NeuRA in 2005, her research focus has been on reducing injury among child occupants, and more recently elderly occupants and other users of the rear seat in motor vehicles.

Projects Dr Julie Brown is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

Vehicle Safety Study

This research will provide an evidence-base for countermeasures for injuries to rear seated vehicle occupants. Specifically the results will provide new data on rear seat occupant injuries, key injury mechanisms and how these might vary by age of occupant. This will provide the basis for regulatory or consumer evaluation of the rear seat as it will define the types of injuries and injury mechanisms need to be controlled, and for which occupants. In turn this will lead to enhanced rear seat safety across the Australian vehicle fleet and a corresponding drop in casualty rates for rear seat occupants.

Our study will also enhance the evidence-base relating to the relationship of known crash risk factors such as speed, fatigue and intoxication with crash and injury outcome (in terms of severity). This information will be useful to those setting priority areas for, and designing, road safety campaigns as well as allow for the improvement of current coding schemes used by organizations collecting mass crash statistics such as the Police and NSW Roads and Traffic Authority.

READ MORE

Vehicle Safety Study

Overcoming barriers to good child restraint practices in NESB communities

The aim of this project is to identify factors that lead to inappropriate and incorrect child restraint use in children from non English speaking background (NESB) communities. It has been demonstrated that these children are more likely to incorrectly and inappropriately use child restraints, however the reasons for this are unclear. Focus groups have been conducted to understand the factors underlying restraint use within each NESB community, thereby allowing the development of effective interventions for this ‘at risk’ group. The interventions will comprise of education programs designed to increase the rates of correct child restraint practices and will be tailored to the specific needs of each NESB community.

READ MORE

Overcoming barriers to good child restraint practices in NESB communities

Optimising rear seat protection in vehicles

This research is aimed at improving the protection provided to rear seat motor vehicle occupants in crashes. There are two distinct groups of rear seat occupants who have different needs – young children (≤ 8 years) for whom the first step in reducing injury in crashes has been shown to be the correct use of appropriate child-specific add-on restraints and older children and adult occupants, who use the existing restraint system in the vehicle. Our study involves evaluating the effectiveness of new technologies for improving injury outcomes for rear seat occupants, including existing technologies used in the front seat and novel methods for improving rear seat belt and seat fit. Additionally, we are looking to characterise the rates and bio-mechanical mechanisms of the injury to rear seated vehicle occupants (not using child restraints)

Our study has uncovered new data on rear seat occupant injuries, key injury mechanisms and restraint practices. This data will provide the basis for regulatory or consumer evaluation of the rear seat environment and creates an evidence base for countermeasures for injuries to rear seated vehicle occupants that can be implemented in Australia and abroad.

READ MORE

Optimising rear seat protection in vehicles

Motorcycle Safety Study

The purpose of this study is to develop effective policies and programs to address the current disproportionate involvement of motorcyclists in serious casualty crashes. There is a need to understand in detail the individual and interactive effects that environmental, vehicle and road user factors have on the involvement and injury outcome of motorcyclists in serious injury crashes.

This study has two distinct aims:
1. To develop an understanding of the influence of the total system, i.e. the rider, the vehicles and the crash
site on the nature and pattern of injuries sustained by seriously injured motorcyclists, and
2. To examine causal relationships between human, vehicle, road and other environmental factors and
motorcyclists involvement in serious injury crashes

In order to meet the objectives and aims of the study, the scope of this work involves the conduct of an in-depth study of motorcyclists who have been seriously injured in a crash on NSW roads with a review of the crashes conducted by our multi-disciplinary review team.

 

READ MORE

Motorcycle Safety Study

Estimating the true cost of crashes

This project aims to investigate the behavioral factors which contribute to the occurrence and severity of injuries to vehicle occupants, and to identify the real costs of these injuries to the community and the individual.

Rather than estimating costs through modeling procedures, actual costs will be obtained from hospital records and follow-up interviews with patients. The information collected in this study will highlight the true cost of road injury and will be invaluable in justifying and prioritizing future road safety initiatives. The information will also contribute to the development of evidence based road safety strategies.

READ MORE

Estimating the true cost of crashes

Buckle Up Safely: Randomised control trial

Road traffic crashes for car occupants are a leading cause of death and serious injury in children from high and middle income countries globally. Correct use of appropriate child restraints can significantly reduce death and serious injury but there is a need for well powered trials to examine effectiveness of programs to increase optimal child restraint practices. The aim of this trial is to examine the effectiveness of a comprehensive intervention to increase the use of appropriate child restraints, and decrease incorrect use of child restraints in pre-school aged children traveling in cars.

READ MORE

Buckle Up Safely: Randomised control trial

Child injury – road trauma is a leading cause of death and disabling injury for children

Our group is studying how injuries occur in children when they are involved in crashes, and how changes to the types and design of restraints used by children can reduce serious injuries and death. Key problems include whether children use restraints correctly and whether they use restraints that are appropriate for their size. Recent findings include that rates of misuse of child restraints are high, and much of this misuse is serious enough to compromise the effectiveness of the restraints in crashes. Building on our recent work that led to major changes in child restraint design and usage laws in Australia, Dr Julie Brown and I are currently studying how restraint ergonomics and comfort affect how children use restraints, and whether we can improve how restraints are labelled to help parents to use them correctly.

READ MORE

Child injury – road trauma is a leading cause of death and disabling injury for children

RESEARCH TEAM

Bianca Albanese

BIANCA ALBANESE Research Assistant

Cameron Fong

CAMERON FONG Research Assistant

Marijke

MARIJKE OOMENS Research Assistant

Lauren Meredith

LAUREN MEREDITH PhD Student

Chris Mulligan

CHRIS MULLIGAN Masters Student

Alexandra Hall

ALEXANDRA HALL PhD Student

Catherine Ho

CATHERINE HO Technical Assistant