David Jernigan pic

Responsibilities at the Trauma Foundation

David came to the Trauma Foundation in January 1986 as a secretary, totally overqualified due to his Harvard undergraduate degree. His reason - he was financing his dancing career. Six weeks after employment here, he wrote such a useful brief on alcohol policy that Jim Mosher hired him as Policy Specialist for the Alcohol Policy Initiatives Project. He began to work on project issues. Then, while at the Trauma Foundation, he co-wrote with Jim a proposal for the Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems. The Institute was funded in the summer of 1987 and opened with full staff in July 1988. So, technically he was at the Trauma Foundation for two and a half years, but the last nine months was devoted largely to getting the Marin Institute started.

Liked most about the Trauma Foundation

I really liked the people who worked at the Trauma Foundation. I also enjoyed the vision which permeated this work-place - to change the world by preventing injury. I too had a desire to make the planet a better place, so it was a great fit.

Learnings still useful

The Trauma Foundation introduced me to public health and the role that alcohol plays in public health problems. I had no notion of it before I started working with all of you, but I have followed that path ever since. After transitioning to the Marin Institute, I worked there for thirteen years, with some consulting at the World Health Organization and the World Bank. Then I reconnected with a childhood friend of my brother's who grew up to be a program officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts. With Pew and Trauma Foundation connections, I met Jim O’Hara, who was about to become the Executive Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing & Youth, funded by Pew. He asked me to become the Research Director so I did, and moved to Georgetown. I was there six years, ending up as the Director of the Center. When funding for the Center diminished, I was recruited by Steve Teret to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I brought the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth to JHU.
         I learned one other big lesson at the Trauma Foundation: networks and networking are essential. I use that lesson every day.


I’m now an Associate Professor at Hopkins and the Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. I’m teaching with Sue Baker and writing with Steve Teret, so in a way, being with them at Johns Hopkins, one of the birthplaces of contemporary injury prevention, I’ve come full circle.


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Email address: djerniga at jhsph.edu