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Reducing the Burden of Injury: Advancing Prevention and Treatment
Because of their number and diversity, it is difficult to quantify the total extent of government, community, and private-sector endeavors in the injury field. At the state and local levels of government, many agencies are charged with protecting the public's well-being, including health and safety (Table 7.1). Although all of these agencies may not consider themselves part of the injury field per se, each is an integral component of broader safety efforts to prevent or reduce injuries.
Private-sector organizations, ranging from corporations to foundations and other nonprofit organizations, provide substantive support for injury prevention through injury-related advocacy, sponsorship of research, and implementation of prevention programs. A number of individuals and groups have started grass-roots organizations on injury prevention, often turning personal tragedies into dedicated injury prevention efforts. All of these endeavors have an impact on increasing public awareness about injury, providing funding for injury prevention programs, and galvanizing support for the implementation of injury prevention goals. Nonprofit organizations garner financial support (and often volunteer support) from concerned citizens, small businesses and corporate sponsorship, philanthropic foundations, and through state and federal government agencies. For-profit corporations and businesses also contribute to safety efforts by implementing employee safety programs (often providing information about both on-the-job and off-the-job safety issues), focusing on product safety, and providing consumer education. The examples provided in Box 7.2 reflect only a snapshot of the numerous nonprofit, foundation, and grassroots efforts dedicated to injury prevention. The examples were chosen to reflect the diversity of ongoing injury efforts. Additionally, a number of professional organizations focus their attention on injury issues (Box 7.3). These organizations often develop educational materials, sponsor continuing education classes and workshops, hold conferences to discuss ongoing research, and support injury prevention programs.
Although the current response is impressive, it is also fragmented. Many of the organizations and agencies focus on a specific cause of injury (e.g., sports, vehicles, fires), type of injury (e.g., spinal cord injury, burns), or target population (children, teenagers, elderly). As depicted throughout this report, one of the prime opportunities for the injury field is to leverage the resources and expertise of the numerous agencies, organizations, and individuals interested in reducing injuries. Additionally, it is important for the injury field to focus educational efforts on legislators, administrators, manufacturers, and the media, to continue to inform them about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of injury prevention and to keep them updated on new developments.