People of the Injury Prevention Center


Karla Klas, BSN, RN, CCRP

Managing Director, Injury Prevention and Community Outreach, University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center




Ms. Klas manages the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center's nationally acclaimed community and family-centered prevention programs, which focus on mitigating high-risk behaviors to reduce the occurrence of burn and trauma injuries. She coordinates the Straight Talk youth firesetting prevention and intervention program and its educational videos "In An Instant" and "Sean's Story," all which have received national accolades. Karla created the "Sean's Story: National Campaign for Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention," which has reached every state in the United States and over 40 countries globally.

A celebrated educator, speaker, and author, Karla received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with honors and minor in Psychology degree from Purdue University. Her 26-year distinguished career spans trauma/burn critical care nursing, research, injury prevention, public education, professional development training, policy and process improvement, program development, and Level 1 Trauma and Burn Center Verification management. She has published numerous textbook chapters and articles in medical and advanced practice nursing journals. Karla has also received several competitive grant awards. She is a national reviewer of journal manuscripts and conference abstracts. Karla is a National Fire Academy graduate and has held specialty certifications in CCRN, ABLS Instructor, ACLS, PALS, BCLS Instructor, ATCN, Stop the Bleed Instructor, and CCRP.

Karla has been appointed leadership roles to professional organizations, honor societies, and specialty task forces devoted to research and the reduction of injury, including the: Chair of the Michigan Trauma Coalition Injury Prevention Committee, Chair of the American Burn Association (ABA) Prevention Committee, Michigan Arson Prevention Committee (MAPC) Executive Board, Chair of the MAPC Youth Affairs Committee, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing, Metro Detroit Fire Inspectors Society, American Burn Association (ABA) TRACS Database Committee, Michigan Fire Inspectors Society Public Education Committee, International Association of Firefighters National Juvenile Firesetting Database Executive Steering Committee, University of Michigan Injury Center External Advisory Committee, National Scald Burn Prevention Campaign Executive Steering Committee, Paradigm Challenge National Finals Judge, Chair of the ABA Burn Prevention SIG, State of Michigan Community Risk Reduction Task Force, Governor’s Task Force on Traffic Safety Sub-committee, etc.

Karla's work has received numerous accolades, including the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society Public Educator of the Year Award, City of Detroit Community Service Award, and the ABA Burn Prevention Award. She speaks throughout the nation on burn/trauma injuries, safety, prevention, and youth firesetting. Audiences commend Karla's ability to dynamically present cutting-edge information with clarity, humor, and insight into everyday application.

Dr. Klas contributed to the U-M IPC Massive Open Online Course, “Injury Prevention for Children and Teens” in the Burn Prevention Inequities section.

Research Interests

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