Earlier this month, I was fortunate to attend the 2013 National Meeting of the Safe States Alliance and the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR), along with colleagues from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) and the University of Pennsylvania. At the Safer Today Safer Tomorrow Conference, researchers, educators and practitioners in the field of injury prevention came together to discuss new and exciting research and programs to keep individuals across the lifespan safe. It was invigorating to be around colleagues with backgrounds in many different disciplines and such a passion for preventing injuries and promoting health.
As a nurse with a clinical background and research training in pediatric nursing, I have seen first-hand the effect that violence and injuries can have on children and families. Nurses practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community health centers, and schools, bringing a unique holistic perspective to caring for children and families and have an opportunity to intervene in prevention, treatment, and injury recovery. The conference provided an opportunity for exposure to some of the most current research, programs in place aimed at reducing the effects of violence and injury, and fostering connections among colleagues with similar goals.
The conference provided a number of opportunities for attendees beyond the podium and poster presentations. The SAVIR Hill Day focused on strategies for effective advocacy, with an opportunity to practice skills by meeting with Congressional representatives and advocating for injury prevention research funding. This, plus pre-conference workshops on topics such as storytelling for policy change, community engagement, and injury prevention in trauma centers, highlighted the blending of research and practice that is needed to advance the field of injury prevention. Podium and poster sessions focused on pediatric injury prevention, on topics such as motor vehicle safety, pediatric trauma, youth violence prevention, and injury prevention policy for children. Abstracts from sessions are available here.
Keeping our children safe from injury is our goal. Having opportunities like this conference to come together with colleagues that have different training and perspectives not only keeps us energized about the work we do, but also fosters new ideas and collaborations that can lead to a decrease in injuries and improved lives of children and families. I am looking forward to bringing the new information I learned at the conference about motor vehicle crashes and teen drivers, concussions, and youth and community violence back to the research I do and eventually to the clinical setting to reach the children and families we care for every day.