Training Gives States Tools to Measure Efficacy of Injury Prevention Policies

By Currie, Donya | The Nation's Health, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Training Gives States Tools to Measure Efficacy of Injury Prevention Policies


Currie, Donya, The Nation's Health


A 2011 NEBERASKA law sets out rules on when kids can safely return to sports after suffering concussions.

Arkansas lawmakers passed several public safety laws in 2009, including one that establishes a trauma network and another allowing drivers to be ticketed for not wearing seatbelts.

Such legislation is important, but public health workers have the potential to go further to address the devastating toll of injuries and violence, and a new APHA program is helping them do exactly that.

APHA has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control to offer training and technical support to health departments in four states to help them evaluate the effectiveness of policies. Known as the Practical Policy Evaluation Training for Public Health Practitioners, the effort is part of APHA's work to build capacity in the public health field to reduce the burden of injuries and violence.

According to CDC, injury is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1-44, and injury and violence cost more than $406 billion annually in medical costs and lost productivity.

"Prevention is paramount, and policy is one way to make that happen," said Mighty Fine, MPH, CHES, APHA's public health practice manager. "But we need to ensure that such policies are effective."

A two-day policy evaluation training was held in conjunction with APHA's 140th Annual Meeting in October in San Francisco. Injury and violence prevention teams from Arkansas, Nebraska, Ohio and Rhode Island attended the training and said the lessons learned will help them evaluate the effectiveness of policies in their states.

"The timing was perfect," said Peg Ogea-Ginsberg, MA, Injury Prevention Program coordinator for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

She and her colleagues had zeroed in on the state's 2011 concussion awareness law, which took effect in July, as one that needed evaluation.

"Part of our goal is to evaluate whether or not we think the law's going to make any difference," Ogea-Ginsberg told The Nation's Health.

The training and subsequent technical support, she said, "gave us that many more tools to use to work toward that goal."

Nebraska's Concussion Awareness Act was a response to concerns about concussions among school-aged athletes. In 2010, about five children a week sought treatment for sportrelated concussions. …

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Training Gives States Tools to Measure Efficacy of Injury Prevention Policies
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