Athens, Ga. – Injury is the most expensive medical problem in the United States. In a single year, $80 billion will be spent on medical care, another $326 billion on lost productivity, and an untold amount on social support for the individuals and families caring for the severely injured.In many cases, these costs are increasing because preventative measures are not being taken to prevent injuries and violence.
The department of health promotion and behavior in the University of Georgia College of Public Health will host a week-long series of eventsto show individuals how to live safer lives and help reverse these national health statistics. The purpose of the events is to bring people together to issue a call to action that will make a difference in injury and violence prevention. Students, faculty, staff, public health leaders and community members are invited to participate in any or all of the events, which are part of the annual National Public Health Week observance.
Dates and events hosted by the College of Public Health during the week are:
Tuesday, April 5
More than 100 students from the department of health promotion and behavior’s health and wellness class will distribute pamphlets and related literature from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety from 2 – 3:30 p.m. throughout campus. Materials distributed will include information regarding pedestrian safety, texting while driving, seat belt safety, the Move Over Law, Operation Zero Tolerance and other traffic-related information.
Wednesday, April 6
The Future Health Promoters club will distribute information on traffic safety from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a booth in the Tate Student Center. The emphasis will be on raising awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. Students will distribute lollipops with a note attached that reads “Don’t be a Dum Dum, Stop texting while driving!”
Also on April 6, students from the department of health promotion and behavior will conduct a fall prevention program for residents at Morningside Assisted Living Facility in Athens at 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 7
The college’s Graduate Student Association will raise awareness of pedestrian safety by promoting the use of crosswalks as a proper means of crossing a street. The group will distribute information on pedestrian safety as well as the penalties and fines for jaywalking.
Friday, April 8
From noon to 1 p.m., Leigh Ebelhar of the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute will conduct a car seat demonstration at St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens during “Toddle Time,” a weekly play group for toddlers.
Also on April 8, more than 125 students from the department’s health and wellness class, along with students from the women’s health class, will distribute information throughout campus about traffic safety and sexual assault.
“Individuals can make a real difference by committing to safer behaviors for themselves, their children and families,” said Carol Cotton, UGA associate professor in the College of Public Health and director of the traffic safety research and evaluation group. “We will find real change when we shift from a reactionary health system to one focused on preventative measures. Many injuries are not accidents and are preventable. These events are designed to help individuals realize what they can do to improve their lives.”
This series of events is part of the American Public Health Association’s annual celebration of the role of public health in Georgia communities. Since 1995, communities around the country have celebrated NPHW each April to draw attention to the need to help protect and improve the nation’s health.
“National Public Health Week helps educate Americans about ways to live healthier lives,” said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The events that take place this year will help construct an America that is more aware of how to prevent injuries and violence. Our ultimate goal is to make America the healthiest nation in one generation. Taking simple steps within our families and our communities will help prevent injuries and therefore, create safer places to live.”
For more information about National Public Health Week, see www.nphw.org. For more information about the UGA College of Public Health’s department of health promotion and behavior, see www.publichealth.uga.edu/.