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Council of Centers Spotlight

Contact: Cheryl Lang 

Official Name of Organization/Center: The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation

Director: Dr. Ali Salim

Organization’s Twitter Handle: @Steppingstrong1

Year Organization/Center was founded: 2014

City/State where Organization is located: Boston, MA


Proposed Questions:

  1. What is something that the city in which your organization/center is located is known for?  

The Boston Marathon, which is the world's oldest annual marathon and one of six World Marathon Majors. Runners travel from all over the world to compete in the Boston Marathon, which is a notoriously difficult course due to the numerous hills towards the end of the route and the ever-changing New England weather conditions. This Boston race gained further notoriety when two bombs went off at the finish line, killing three people and injuring hundreds of others, including Gillian Reny. This year is the 10th anniversary of the marathon bombing and will be recognized by a series of events honoring the strength and resiliency of the people of Boston in the wake of tragedy.

  1. What is/are the primary injury topics your organization/center addresses? 

The Stepping Strong Center focuses on trauma innovation through robust research collaborations across medical disciplines and institutions. An initiative of the Center, the Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Program (SSIPP) aims to prevent traumatic injury through five focus areas, including falls prevention, violence prevention, long-term post-injury outcomes, traffic safety and substance use prevention. 


  1. Please tell us a bit about the injury work that is being done at your organization/center. This work does not have to solely be work related to traditional grants or publications, it can include unique projects, community partnerships, and/or outreach programs.

The SSIPP has a robust outreach program, which seeks to empower citizens and give them the tools to live a life exempt from the burden of injuries. Our programs include QPR Suicide Prevention, Stop-the-Bleed, and Naloxone trainings. These programs are offered to community organizations at no cost and equip participants with the materials they need to act in an emergency, such as Stop the Bleed kits and naloxone. SSIPP is also working with WalkBoston, a statewide pedestrian advocacy organization to develop a traffic safety and advocacy program for community organizations.

  1. Are there opportunities in which students or faculty can connect with your organization/center (i.e. training or outreach opportunities)?

The Stepping Strong Center hosts a number of education and training opportunities for students and faculty, including an annual symposium, quarterly Lunch and Learns and an Injury Prevention Fellowship program.  

Our annual symposium is hosted each November and includes a series of panels that highlight the breadth and depth of innovation in the continuum of trauma care. 

Quarterly lunch and learns cover a variety of topics to raise awareness on best practices in the field on injury prevention. Previous topics included falls prevention, community violence prevention, opioid use disorder, active transportation, and more. 

The Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Fellowship provides a wonderful opportunity for young investigators to explore social science and public health principles while supporting the Injury Prevention Program’s mission of reducing the number and severity of traumatic injuries in Boston and beyond.

  1. How is your organization/center involved with SAVIR (i.e. past/future conference site, board/committee members)?

Members of the Stepping Strong Center have attended past conferences and are involved in the SAVIR Council of Centers committee. 

  1. What is your favorite part about SAVIR?

SAVIR provides a great opportunity to learn from and collaborate with other violence and injury prevention professionals across the country. It has been an invaluable resource for deepening our work and strengthening our programs.

  1. Tell us about a fun tradition or activity you do as an organization/center.

Each year the Stepping Strong team goes out to cheer on the marathon runners at Heartbreak Hill, a steep ascent between the 20- and 21-mile mark, and the last of the four “Newton Hills”.

  1. Anything else you would like to share with SAVIR members about your organization/center?

We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to reach out to us at

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