Injury Prevention Center at ACH Partners With AFMC and DHS to Distribute Safety Messages to Community

May 28, 2009 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, AR. (May 28, 2009) – Arkansas’ injury rate for children and adolescents is among the highest in the nation. But many of those injuries could be prevented through appropriate education. The Injury Prevention Center (IPC) at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC) and the state Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced their combined effort to provide safety education to families through primary care physicians statewide.

“This is a major step toward our goal of saving the lives of children,” said Mary Aitken, MD, MPH, medical director of the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Aitken is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine. “Preventing these injuries and deaths starts with knowing the dangers and taking precautions. Fasten your safety belt, wear a safety helmet, wear a life jacket, make a safety contract with your teen driver.”

During its first year in operation, the Injury Prevention Center and its supporters worked with lawmakers on legislation that will create a graduated driver’s license law, restricting the cell phone use of teen drivers, the number of passengers teens can carry and the number of hours teens can drive at night. Safety advocates know those accomplishments are not nearly enough.

“We need a one-two punch, and there is a great deal of value in the partnership among these organizations, and certainly with physicians across our state,” said Gary Wheeler, MD, associate medical director for quality improvement for AFMC. “The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care will reach approximately 1,800 physicians statewide, and we’re proud to be able to work with physicians to improve health care for Arkansans and their families.”

The Injury Prevention Center, AFMC and DHS worked together to develop resources that will be going in primary care physicians’ offices. The materials will be distributed by AFMC using Medicaid funds. The joint project resulted from a discussion between the agencies about ways to improve care for all Arkansans, reduce injuries and limit costs for the state. The educational handouts include information on child passenger safety, teen driving, home safety, burn prevention and ATV safety.

“I’m certain these physicians will do a phenomenal job of spreading the word and helping to keep families safer,” Wheeler said.

The handouts, which will be loaded with injury prevention information and startling statistics, will be sent to: • More than 1,800 primary care physicians, pediatricians and other health care providers; • More than 80 DHS county offices; • 20 education cooperatives; and • 20 civic organizations.

More resources will be available by visiting

The partnership is ideal because the Injury Prevention Center already had the resources available for parents, but needed a better avenue for reaching families and distributing materials to a wider audience.

“Most people will do almost anything to protect their kids, but they don’t always realize the common dangers,” Wheeler said. “Research has shown that parents listen to doctors, and that doctors can make a bigger difference than they may realize, simply by offering advice and easily understood information. We want to help them do that by offering tools to make it easier.”

The Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only multi-faceted injury prevention program in Arkansas whose mission is to reduce child injury, death and disability in Arkansas through service, education, innovative research and advocacy. Key areas of focus include teen driving, all-terrain vehicle safety, car passenger seat safety, water safety, home safety, pedestrian safety and bike safety. The center's team of experts works with partners throughout the state to educate families on effective prevention strategies, reinforcing the fact that It Only Takes a Moment - it only takes only a moment to lose your life due to an injury, but it also only takes a moment to practice safety and prevention. For more information on the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital, call (501) 364-3400 or visit

Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. The campus spans 28 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 76 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or

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