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A University of Kentucky assistant professor and KIPRC faculty associate has been appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Vehicle User Education, Training and Licensing (ACH60).

Caitlin Pope, PhD, an assistant professor in Health, Behavior & Society and the Graduate Center for Gerontology in the College of Public Health and faculty associate with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), will co-chair the early career trainee interest group with Dr. Emma Sartin, a postdoctoral scientist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Helping to expand mentorship and training opportunities to the next generation of scientists with interests in injury prevention and transportation safety was a big motivator for me to be a part of this TRB standing committee,” said Pope. “Over the years, I have received invaluable mentorship from committee members of the ACH60 standing committee. Formally working with this committee will help enhance my personal career trajectory in mobility and transportation safety but also help promote career and professional development opportunities for other early career scientists.”

She said the work done by members of the committee historically has helped influence important transportation safety policy, such as graduated driver licensing laws and distracted driving legislation.

“It’s a real honor to sit beside and learn from the members of this committee,” Pope added.

The co-chairs said their short-term goals for the committee are to gather a group of early career trainees and scientists with interests in transportation safety and begin providing regular communications between trainees and the ACH60 standing committee. Their long-term goals are to develop mentorship opportunities outside of the annual TRB meetings while also participating in TRB-affiliated workshops and mid-year meetings hosted by the ACH60.

The ACH60 committee is concerned with research and development activities designed to optimize the education, training, and licensing of motor vehicle drivers, riders, and operators throughout the lifespan, according to Pope. The committee maintains a special focus on the behavior, safety, and well-being of high-risk groups, including younger drivers, older drivers, and motorcyclists. She said the committee also works to ensure that the adoption of automated vehicle technologies is incorporated within education and training across all age groups and high-risk groups.

Pope said being on the committee will help her work with KIPRC and UK.

“It will help build solid collaborations with other early career scientists like Dr. Sartin at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia while also providing opportunities to work with leaders in the field of transportation science and injury prevention,” she said. “It will also help promote KIPRC on a national level and provide an opportunity to recruit future students and trainees who are interested in injury prevention and transportation science.”

If interested in being on the ACH60 Early Career Interest list serve or attending future virtual meetings, reach out to Dr. Caitlin Pope ( or Dr. Emma Sartin (

TRB is one of seven units of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that work together to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.

KIPRC is a unique partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. KIPRC serves both as an academic injury prevention research center and as a bona fide agent of DPH for statewide injury prevention and control.