The Safe States Alliance awarded the Stony Brook Trauma Center — Suffolk County’s only Level I Trauma Center — an Injury and Violence Prevention Program Achievement Award for 2020, which recognizes the center’s ability to pivot and make many of its injury prevention programs available to the community despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This award is a thank you to the team here that works tirelessly to reach the community and provide the care they need no matter the circumstances,” said Dr. James A. Vosswinkel, trauma medical director and chief of the Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care in the Department of Surgery at Stony Brook Medicine. “This is a reminder that every idea can make an impact. These programs can and will save lives.”
The Stony Brook Trauma Center offers free in-person injury prevention programs to the public, educating local communities on best practices in safety to prevent a trip to the emergency room and help save lives. In March 2020, that came to a halt when in-person injury prevention programs were cancelled due to the pandemic. Kristi Ladowski, injury prevention and outreach coordinator at Stony Brook Medicine, together with volunteers, staff, and community partners, quickly pivoted and made sure their programs could still be accessible to the community by moving to virtual programming.
“The strength of our partnerships, everyone’s willingness to quickly adapt, and our passion for injury prevention ensured that this transition was accomplished quickly and seamlessly,” said Ladowski. “We developed win-win partnerships that harmonize organizational goals, student experiential learning, and most importantly served our community needs.”
Stony Brook’s highly effective “Tai Chi for Arthritis,” a fall-prevention workshop, immediately began a virtual schedule that allowed the team to hold more than 40 eight-week workshops, reaching over 1,000 participants. The availability of easily accessible recorded segments helped participants practice longer, more often and helped reduce attrition. Other programs such as “A Matter of Balance and Stepping On” also moved to virtual programming with great success.
School-based programs were also pivoted to virtual platforms. Programs such as “Impact Teen Driver” and the extremely popular “Teddy Bear Clinic” both promote road safety. In an effort to reach even more schools and students, the Stony Brook Injury Prevention team created a Teddy Bear Clinic video utilizing a “Blues Clues” approach to appeal to children and get more classroom participation than ever before possible. The video will reach thousands of students and potentially hundreds of classrooms every year, helping to keep the community safe and informed. It is a great tool for parents and teachers in preventing major trauma injuries in children.
To make sure clinical students at Stony Brook could still fulfill their learning requirements, the Trauma Center expanded its undergraduate and graduate experiential learning opportunities by offering student participation in virtual programs. Occupational therapy students created multiple one-hour, fall-prevention workshops that helped fill a need for more accessible, shorter, informational workshops. These workshops were so well received that they are being continued indefinitely along with multiple practicum opportunities for master’s in public health students.
Learn more about the Injury Prevention Programs offered through the Stony Brook Trauma Center.