Skip to content

DrPH student to present research in annual competition during Pediatric Trauma Society’s virtual meeting

Anna E. Ssentongo, a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at Penn State College of Medicine, has been selected to give a presentation on non-accidental trauma during the seventh annual meeting of the Pediatric Trauma Society, which will be held virtually in November. The presentation will be part of the Joseph J. Tepas, MD, Award Competition.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Anna Ssentongo

Anna Ssentongo, DrPH student

Named after a late pediatric surgeon who helped establish the National Pediatric Trauma Registry, the awards highlight outstanding trauma research within nursing and allied health. Ssentongo will be competing for the non-physician award.

She will present findings from “Discipline Gone Wrong: A Global Prospective on Non-Accidental Trauma” and discuss how pediatric trauma is the leading cause of death in children 5 and older in developing countries. Looking at data from 260,025 participants across 12 countries, Ssentongo will discuss risk factors, highlight regions where non-accidental trauma is prevalent and offer insight into possible interventions.

Findings show that children with uneducated parents were 34 percent more likely to experience severe physical punishment and 33 percent less likely to experience non-violent discipline. Children from low-income families were more likely to experience severe physical punishment when compared with children living in wealthier households. The 5- to 9-year-olds were at the highest risk of experiencing severe physical punishment and the least likely to solely experience non-violent discipline.

The international study underscores the need for interventions to prevent non-accidental trauma. It shows that initiatives should be tailored toward households with a lower socioeconomic status, families with 5- to 9-year-olds, and target parents who are without a formal education.

The following Penn State researchers contributed to this study: Paddy Ssentongo, MD, MPH; Emily Heilbrunn; Dan Lin, MPH; Kathryn McCans, MD; Vernon Chinchilli, PhD; Joshua P. Hazelton, DO; and John Oh, MD. In addition, Joceyln Asibe from Eastern Reginal Hospital in Koforidua, Ghana, contributed to this research.

If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email Penn State Health Marketing & Communications.