Flaura Winston, MD, PhD frequently shares her research at scientific conferences around the world.
Child and adolescent health promotion is paramount in our translation of injury prevention research conducted by our multidisciplinary team. Because of its “Research to Action to Impact” approach, CIRP is frequently in the national spotlight. We recognize that to affect change in keeping children and teens safe, we need to go beyond the publication of research findings and actively engage in health promotion. This is why CIRP, unlike most injury prevention centers, employs an embedded team of outreach specialists to create evidence-based educational resources and programs and then share them with stakeholders using health promotion best practices.
We deploy digital communications strategies, educational tool development, and legislative advocacy to help translate our research recommendations into real-world solutions. These research communications and health promotion activities are geared both to those who can deliver our messages (e.g., news media, policymakers, medical professionals and advocates) and to those who can benefit from them (families).
Our recent translational research shows that more traditional models of information dissemination (e.g., press releases, media briefings, etc.) must be complemented by, and keep pace with, new technology and the changing information environment. The ways in which the public finds, consumes, and shares information is rapidly changing and offers great opportunities for direct engagement with parents and stakeholders.
Essential to health promotion activities and research communications is collaboration with the key stakeholders who are best positioned to affect change: the media, policymakers, and child and traffic safety advocacy organizations. These relationships allow us to engage end-users in early stages of Center research, as well as to develop useful tools and resources that contain CIRP research recommendations.
VPI Fellow Ruth Abaya, MD, MPH testifies before the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee on gun violence prevention
Public Health Policy Advocacy
The Outreach staff works with Center researchers to recommend research priorities for federal funding and to translate CIRP and others’ research into legislative educational materials such as issue briefs, fact sheets, legislative testimony, and opinion articles. An essential component of our advocacy is partnerships with state coalitions and national member organizations that are best positioned to advocate among key state and federal policymakers.
In early 2019, CIRP advocated for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to reassess its research priorities for 2020-2025 and to include a focus on injury and violence prevention in its new overarching research themes.
Key among our advocacy efforts has been providing legislative testimony for policies to reduce youth exposure to firearm violence, as well as on strategic initiatives to improve child restraint use laws and Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws. In early 2019, CIRP Senior Fellow Megan S. Ryerson, PhD testified to Philadelphia City Council's Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities about the role of electric scooters in safe mobility as the City assesses a bill to legalize scooters on city streets. Watch or read a full transcript of her testimony.
Between 2001 and 2008, we utilized research findings from Partners for Child Passenger Safety to successfully promote a shift in child occupant restraint practice to the use of booster seats for older children. This was accomplished through collaboration with national advocacy organizations and their local chapters and state coalitions, as well as through media outreach that fostered upgrades to child restraint laws in nearly all states and at the federal level. These health promotion activities also helped to increase awareness among parents/caregivers and to shift social norms.
A similar approach has been deployed to advocate for optimal Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws through promotion of relevant research findings from CIRP and others. In addition, in 2007 CIRP spearheaded an effort to create a US Congress-sanctioned annual National Teen Driver Safety Week, which continues to build momentum and traction each year.
Current Health Promotion Projects
- CIRP’s Family of Websites -- Outreach efforts include develop and maintaining websites that are organized for parents, educators, journalists, researchers, and other stakeholders who utilize the sites for trusted health promotion and research communications resources. All of these websites are reviewed by CHOP experts and include:
- Research in Action Blog -- Since 2013 the Outreach team has utilized this blog to share CIRP expert perspectives about issues and research pertaining to child and adolescent injury prevention. Subscribe to Research in Action through Feedburner and stay abreast of the issues and trends.
- TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide Dissemination -- Researchers at CIRP designed and tested TeenDrivingPlan, an evidence-based interactive resource to help parents effectively plan and structure supervised practice driving. The Outreach team worked with CIRP researchers to translate the intervention used in the clinical trial into a free resource on TeenDriverSource.org. There is also a licensed version called TeenDrivingPlan Program, which wraps the intervention in a supportive program that can be community-delivered to parents by the licensee’s trained facilitators.
- Media Relations -- CIRP research is regularly covered in the news media by writers that focus on child safety and parenting, as well as those that focus on traffic and auto safety and industry news. CIRP experts are also asked to provide perspective on other’s research and child injury-related topics. We also use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and our blog to draw attention to important and interesting news relevant to child injury prevention. Contact Ben Leach, CHOP media relations specialist with media requests.
Completed Health Promotion Projects
- Minds Matter: Concussion Care at CHOP -- As part of a CHOP Chair's Intitiatives grant, the Outreach worked with a cross-hospital team of researchers and clinicians to develop an internet-based resource on comprehensive concussion care for parents, healthcare providers, athletic coaching and training staff, and school personnel. Visitors to the website can download educational resources such as video FAQs, infographics, posters and fact sheets.
- Outreach Program Evaluation -- CIRP researchers collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) to develop tools to facilitate the evaluation and enhancement of safe driving programs for teens. The result is a guidebook and supplementary resources. Although focused on teen driver safety topics, these resources can be used by those interested in a wide range of safety and other public health topics.
- Boosting Restraint Norms Among At-Risk Groups -- This community-based social marketing campaign was designed to promote booster seat use among at-risk populations. The health promotion campaign is steeped in Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) data, focus group testing of messages and interventions with parents of booster seat-aged children in both the US and Beijing, China. It was successfully pilot-tested in Norristown PA and was later featured in a scaled-up demonstration project by AAA clubs in 3 communities.
- Ride Like A Friend. Drive Like You Care (RLAF) -- RLAF was a school-based peer-to-peer social marketing campaign that encouraged safe teen passenger and driver behavior. Students (including student leaders and extracurricular club members) worked with teachers and school administrators to plan and conduct a set of in-school RLAF activities that spanned three to five school days, typically during National Teen Driver Safety Week.
Formative research to develop the campaign involved: 1/ development of a program theory; 2/ analyses of the National Young Driver Survey (n=5,665); 3/ a teen panel survey (n=625); and 4/ teen focus groups (n=33). Analyses of this data led to the design, development and pre-testing of campaign content with an online teen panel (n=107). Additionally, an online survey of 1,170 teen driver safety stakeholders informed the campaign to facilitate its delivery in school settings.
RLAF was pilot-tested in seven schools (two initial schools in 2008, and five more schools in 2009). Evaluation studies in 2008 showed overall exposure to RLAF and participation in specific RLAF activities were associated with positive cognitions about and use of seat belts among teens — addressing an entrenched health promotion challenge. Evaluation studies in 2009 focused on process. These findings underscored the need for a committed effort to RLAF in a school from at least one student advisor, a key senior administrator (preferably the principal), and energy and leadership from a variety of students in order to implement an effective campaign. RLAF was used as an illustrative example of how to use program theory in this Injury Prevention article.