Most Americans continue to view injuries as "accidents." As a result,
there is little appreciation of injury as a public health disease or
its relationship to public safety and public health issues. Moreover,
in cases of intentional injury or those related to violence, in addition
to being a public safety issue, these injuries also should also be seen
as a public health problem that is amenable to prevention and treatment.
With the aging of the population, there is an increasing frequency of
injury to the already infirm.
There is a profound lack of public and legislative awareness about the
scope of the injury problem and sources of payment. Most of what the
public knows about injury and trauma care has been gleaned from the news
and entertainment media where the focus is sensationalism and entertainment.
There is little understanding of the operational components of a trauma
system; most Americans believe that a trauma center actually
represents the entire trauma system . There is also a significant
gap between what the public expects related to local trauma care and
the services that may actually exist within their community.
But the general public is not the only group that is poorly informed
about injury prevention and trauma care. Aside from emergency and trauma
care professionals, most health care providers do not have a clear understanding
of how injury management relates to their individual practice, how trauma
care systems operate or the costs associated with creating and maintaining
these systems. Even those providers who complete clinical residency or
fellowship programs in trauma care or related fields often lack a clear
understanding of injury prevention and trauma system issues.
Finally, private and public policy officials frequently lack an appreciation
of the nature of the injury problem as well as the value of trauma care
in supporting the well being of a community. Current emphasis is on the
cost of trauma care rather than the total benefit that injury management
provides to a community.
A compelling educational campaign will be launched to position
trauma and injury as a disease rather than a random occurrence and to
increase public awareness of the need for injury prevention and the value
of trauma care.
Targeted educational programs will be developed to inform
policy makers about the value of community-based trauma care in order
to promote passage of legislation to support trauma system activities,
including injury prevention.
Trauma care providers and advocates will form or integrate
into coalitions with trade associations, large corporations (such as
Johnson and Johnson's work with the Safe Kids campaign) and
payers to conduct public education programs about injury and injury prevention
and to advocate for legislation to support injury prevention and trauma
Health insurers will have a clear appreciation of the cost
effectiveness of injury prevention and will provide incentives for safe
Communication, education, and training approaches for the
public and key constituency groups will be thoroughly coordinated yet
distinctly segmented and targeted to achieve maximum impact.
The number of injuries and trauma cases will be reduced
through education and training of clinicians, management and administrative
personnel, volunteers, community support groups, potential "bystanders," and
other key constituency groups.
Trauma and injury prevention education and training will
be increased for all healthcare professionals, beginning at post-graduate
levels and continuing throughout their careers, appropriate to the level
of their involvement in health risk assessment, primary care, or injury
care. Physician, nursing, EMS, and allied health schools will include
injury prevention information in their basic health assessment and patient
Advocacy efforts will facilitate passage of new laws designed
to reduce injuries and trauma cases (based on evidence) and stronger
enforcement of existing laws.
Tort reform will be enacted to facilitate greater access
to trauma services and facilities.
There will be increased awareness of the vulnerability
of the older population.