Professor James Harrison


Research Centre for Injury Studies

place Mark Oliphant Building (Level 2B)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I am an injury epidemiologist and public health physician. I was appointed as founding Director of Research Centre for Injury Studies at Flinders University in 1997 and have been the Director of the National Injury Surveillance Unit (NISU) since 1990. I am active nationally and internationally in the areas of measurement and classification of injury, injury burden and determinants of injury in populations, and the descriptive epidemiology of injury for public health purposes.


Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Melbourne, 1980.

Master of Public Health, University of Sydney, 1990
      Treatise: Studying Work-Related Fatalities in Australia

Fellow, Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, RACP, 1990.

Honours, awards and grants

Distinguished Career Award of the American Public Health Association Injury Prevention Section (2013)
Australian Injury Prevention Network 2015 Award for Contribution to Research in Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion

Research expertise
Public health and health services
Research interests

My main areas of research interest are injury prevention and control, and methods and infrastructure for public health surveillance, including classifications and data linkage. My publications deal with many aspects of injury, including injury severity and outcomes, road safety, the safety of Indigenous Australians, suicide and self-harm, alcohol and injury, occupational safety, sports injury, spinal cord injury and the safety of health care. While most of my work has been quantitative, I have also participated in some qualitative research. As at October 2015, I am an author of 77 peer-reviewed journal papers, 39 since the start of 2009, and many other reports, mostly publications of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The Research Centre for Injury Studies operates the National Injury Surveillance Unit (NISU) of the AIHW. NISU undertakes public health surveillance of injury at the national level to support injury prevention and control, and provides much of the statistical information on which injury prevention policy and programs in Australia rely. The NISU program also produces the main national statistical reports on non-fatal serious road injury for the Australian Government agency responsible for road safety. NISU also does technical work on injury data sources and methods.

With Dr Kavi Bhalla, I led the Injury Expert Group in the Global Burden of Diseases 2010 project. This led to an active collaborative network of injury researchers, now part of the International Collaborative Effort (ICE) on Injury Statistics, who are are developing theory and doing research to enable better measurement of the impact and burden of injury. I am researching outcomes of injury using prospective follow-up with Professor Belinda Gabbe (Monash) and others.

Teaching interests

I supervise and mentor research students and teach introductory epidemiology to medical students. I have responsibility for the epidemiology module in the first-year topic MMED 8106.

Topic lecturer
MMED8106 Health Professions & Society - Epidemiology Section
Supervisory interests
Injury epidemiology
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Suicide epidemiology (1)
Expert for media contact
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Media expertise
  • Injury