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Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH
Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH
Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Dr. Curry's research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of motor vehicle crashes in children and adolescents.

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Bio

Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH is an assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Emergency Medicine, and a senior scientist in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention.

Dr. Curry's research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of motor vehicle crashes in children and adolescents. She leads the development of the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes (NJ-SHO) Data Warehouse, a tool being used to advance safety and health research and associated epidemiologic methods through novel linkages of state-level administrative data sources—including driver licensing, motor vehicle crashes, traffic citations, medical records, healthcare utilization, and vital statistics data.

She is the principal investigator of research funded by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) that aims to establish the scientific foundation for driving safety among teens with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Curry also serves as the site PI for a suite of NICHD- and CDC-funded grants that aim to develop and evaluate novel traffic safety technologies in collaboration with Minnesota HeathSolutions.

Her previous studies include the first rigorous evaluation of the effects of a Graduated Driver Licensing decal provision on the rate of teen compliance, enforcement, and crash rates, and several epidemiologic studies that directly inform state-level implementation of GDL policy, including consideration of whether GDL should be extended to older novice drivers. Dr. Curry also collaborated on a CDC-funded study that utilizes CHOP electronic health records data to define the natural history and time course of concussions in children.

Her work has been funded by federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate entities in the field of automotive safety. Dr. Curry previously was the director of research at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Notable Career Achievements

  • Curry has been honored for her achievements by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, American Women in Science, and the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security Education program.
  • She has co-authored more than 85 research publications and has published her work in high-impact journals, including JAMA Pediatrics, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Pediatrics.
  • Curry served as an associate editor for the journal Traffic Injury Prevention and is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board's Committee on Vehicle User Education, Training, and Licensing (ACH60) and Young Driver Subcommittee.
  • Her article, “Graduated Driver Licensing Decal Law: Effect on Young Probationary Drivers,” published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, was voted the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Most Influential Research Article of 2012.
  • She has received more than $7.4 million in funding as principal investigator and more than $28.0 million as co-investigator.

Education and Training

BA, Northwestern University (Anthropology, Pre-medicine), 1998

MPH, University of California, Los Angeles (Epidemiology), 2001

PhD, Emory University (Epidemiology), 2007

Titles and Academic Titles

Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Senior Scientist

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Professional Memberships

Society for Epidemiologic Research, 2010-

American College of Epidemiology, 2010-

American Public Health Association, 2010-

Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, 2010-

Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, 2010-

Transportation Research Board, 2013-

Professional Awards

Magna cum laude, Northwestern University, 1998

Academic Fellowship, Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, 1999-2001

Graduate International Fellowship, David L. Boren National Security Education Program ($20,000), 2001

Travel Scholarship, Annual Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Conference, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003

Teaching Assistant of the Year, Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, 2003

Travel Scholarship, Annual Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Conference, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003

Teaching Assistant of the Year, Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, 2003

Teaching Assistant of the Year, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 2004

Diana Russell Predoctoral Research Award, Association for Women in Science Educational Foundation. Award for an outstanding female graduate student in science or engineering, 2004

1st Summer Institute in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology. Fully funded for participation in summer institute sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Woods Hole, MA, 2004

Teaching Assistant of the Year, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 2004

Diana Russell Predoctoral Research Award, Association for Women in Science Educational Foundation. Award for an outstanding female graduate student in science or engineering, 2004

2013 GDL Champion Award, awarded by the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition to the Center for Injury Research and Prevention in part to recognize research (as PI) to evaluate NJ's GDL decal provision, 2013

Industry-Nominated Technology Breakthroughs of NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers, Serious teen crashes: Identification of common scenarios and factors (Co-PI), 2014

SAVIR Best Science Award for best presentation, Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research Conference, Cincinnati, OH, 2019

Publication Highlights

Curry AE, Yerys BE, Metzger KB, Carey ME & Power TJ. Traffic crashes, violations, and suspensions among young drivers with ADHD. Pediatrics. 2019 Jun; 143(6), e20182305. PMID: 31110164
Curry AE, Yerys BE, Huang P & Metzger KB. Longitudinal study of driver licensing rates among adolescents and young adults with autism. Autism. 2018 May; 22(4):479-488. PMID: 28374599
Curry AE, Metzger KB, Pfeiffer MR, Elliott MR, Winston FK & Power TJ. Motor vehicle crash risk among adolescents and young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. JAMA Pediatrics. 2017 Aug; 171(8):756-763. PMID: 28604931
Curry AE, Pfeiffer MR, Localio R & Durbin DR. Graduated driver licensing decal law: Effect on young probationary drivers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013 Jan; 44(1):1-7. PMID: 23253643
Curry AE, Hafetz J, Kallan MJ, Winston FK & Durbin DR. Prevalence of teen driver errors leading to serious motor vehicle crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2011 Jul; 43(4):1285-90. Epub 2010 Nov 19. PMID: 21545856

Active Grants/Contracts

Catalyzing Young Driver Research via Data Linkage: Development of a Comprehensive Traffic Safety Data Warehouse
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
2017-2020
High-quality linkage of motor vehicle crash data to other existing administrative data sources has the potential to catalyze advancements in our understanding of crashes—the leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents. The study will link five population-level data sources from the state of New Jersey (i.e., birth certificate, driver licensing, police-reported crash, hospital discharge, and death certificate data) in order to create the most comprehensive data warehouse focused on young drivers to date. The resultant warehouse will be primed to support critical, high-priority studies that advance young driver safety as well as to serve as a resource for collaborations on a wide range of topics in traffic safety research, thereby optimizing its ability to advance public health and improve the safety of all road users.
Allison Curry, PhD, MPH

Population-level Estimates of Young Drivers’ Engagement in Risky Driving Behaviors and Motor Vehicle Crash Risk: An Innovative Method to Adjust for Driving Exposure
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
2019-2021
The majority of motor vehicle crash studies have been plagued by an inability to account for “driving exposure”— that is, the extent to which drivers actually drive and thus are truly “at risk” for a crash; this has prevented calculating crash risk estimates that appropriately account for differences in time “at risk” and identifying groups of drivers that are more likely to engage in (i.e., be “exposed” to) high-risk driving behaviors. This project will close these two critical gaps by establishing an innovative, vitally important method to address them that is cost-efficient and generalizable. Our application of this method will demonstrate its broad utility in directly addressing foundational questions in driver behavior and crash risk among a host of driver populations across the age spectrum.
Allison Curry, PhD, MPH

Longitudinal Study of Adverse Driving Outcomes Among Adolescents with ADHD
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human
2014-2018
Although previous research suggests that adolescents and young adults with ADHD are at heightened risk for motor vehicle crashes—the leading cause of death and disability among adolescents—we still know little about the specific mechanisms by which ADHD influences crash risk. The proposed study will be the largest and first truly longitudinal study focused on examining the risk of unsafe driving behaviors (via citations) and crashes throughout adolescence and young adulthood (age 16-25 years) among a general population of children diagnosed with ADHD. This crucial study will provide the evidence base to inform the development of medical, behavioral, technological, and policy interventions that tailor the licensing and learning-to-drive process and ensure safe driving behaviors among adolescents with ADHD.
Allison Curry, PhD, MPH

An Integrated Approach to Establish the Scientific Foundation for Driving Among Adolescents With Autism
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human
2018-2023
The ability to drive a vehicle has great potential to increase independence and mobility for teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—ultimately improving long-term well-being and health—but also may present challenges for these teens given that impairments in skills known to be critical for safe driving may put them at heightened risk of a motor vehicle crash. This project consists of a series of three integrated studies that will directly examine: 1) how teens with ASD and their families decide to drive and whether driving is associated with a higher quality of life, using interviews and a longitudinal cohort study; 2) where and how well these teens drive, by monitoring their driving for 12 months via innovative in-vehicle technology; and 3) how likely they are to be involved in a motor vehicle crash once licensed, via a retrospective cohort study that utilizes a unique linked database of childhood electronic health records and traffic safety data. The rich foundational knowledge generated from this project will lead to identification of new targets of driving interventions and programs for teens with ASD, provide knowledge about important aspects of the decision-making process for families during the transition-to-driving period, and ultimately improve the safety of drivers with ASD.
Allison Curry, PhD, MPH

Sensor Network With Active Instructional Content to Prevent Child Safety Seat Misuse
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human
2019-2020
The population of interest for this device is virtually all child safety seat installers/users, which includes parents, grandparents, and child care providers. The available market for the proposed device exceeds 5 million units annually in the United States alone. There are approximately 30 million children 6 years old and younger in the United States. By law, children in this age group must be restrained in a child safety seat. The proposed engagement/instructional/warning technology can provide benefit in nearly all of these seat installations.
Sara Seifert

Practice Driving Smart System for Teen Drivers
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human
2018-2020
The proposed project seeks to develop and commercialize a coordinated and robust platform for connecting evidence-based and parent-directed teen driver safety interventions with parents. It will focus on improving teen driver safety, as motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury to adolescents. The societal benefit of the development and commercial release of the tool is that, if successful, it will reduce motor vehicle crashes with teen drivers, and ultimately the resulting fatal and nonfatal injuries.
Kevin Kramer

Automated Harness Tightener for Child Safety Seat
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Huma
2015-2021brain injuries in young children involved in motor vehicle crashes. The societal benefit of the project includes the availability of new technologies to address the leading cause of unintentional death in American children.
Nick Rydberg

Effect of Decals on Teen Compliance With and Enforcement of Driving Restrictions
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human
2012-2014
Although Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws have significantly reduced the burden of teen motor vehicle crashes, their potential to have an even greater impact on public health hinges on efforts to enhance teen compliance with and police enforcement of GDL restrictions (i.e., passenger limit, curfew, seat belt use, cell phone restriction). This study will evaluate whether New Jersey's innovative effort to do so—a GDL law requiring novice teen drivers to display a decal on their vehicle's license plate to make themselves easily identifiable to police—increases teen drivers compliance with and officers enforcement of GDL restrictions. Results will productively inform future refinements of New Jersey's law, guide decisions of policymakers in other U.S. states considering similar laws, and provide much-needed scientific evidence as to the effectiveness of decal laws.
Allison Curry, PhD, MPH