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New Coalition Focuses on Reducing Injuries to Seattle's Kids

October 29, 2002

Seattle, Wash. – Broken bones, scrapes, burns and the bruises of childhood may be dismissed as kids being kids, but the doctors and nurses who treat unintentional injuries have come to a different conclusion.

Seattle, Wash. – Broken bones, scrapes, burns and the bruises of childhood may be dismissed as kids being kids, but the doctors and nurses who treat unintentional injuries have come to a different conclusion. When children live in a safe environment, are given alternatives to gang violence, follow street safety when walking, and wear helmets when biking, they have many fewer injuries and fewer visits to the hospital emergency department.

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Seattle is a new hospital-community partnership focused on reducing childhood injury in neighborhoods throughout the city. Based at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the Coalition is a partnership between Harborview Medical Center, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Public Health-Seattle & King County and the community.

With sites in 15 U.S. cities, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids is one of the nation’s most effective and fastest growing injury-prevention programs. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the coalition is comprised of hospital-based, community-oriented programs focusing on research, education and advocacy.

“The Coalition will work closely with other local organizations committed to childhood injury prevention,” says Dr. Brian Johnston, who directs the Seattle program. “Our goal is to make the community safer through collaborations that respect the diversity among families we serve and build on the strengths we see in our neighborhoods.”

Johnston is chief of pediatrics at Harborview and a University of Washington (UW) assistant professor of pediatrics. Dr. Linda Quan, chief of emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center and a UW professor of pediatrics, is the program’s co-director.

The Coalition’s goals are to:
- Identify and analyze injury problems at the neighborhood level;
- Foster the creation of local coalitions to address these problems;
- Develop and evaluate programs supported by the local coalitions.

The Coalition will begin its efforts in the city’s Central Area, where children have been found to be at increased risk of requiring hospitalization due to falls, burns, and motor vehicle injuries. The Coalition will work with the Central Area’s strong community organizations, then expand into other neighborhoods as the coalition develops.

Initial community outreach has been well received by a broad array of organizations, including: Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic; King County EMS; Seattle Fire Department; Safeco Insurance; Seattle Police Department; Northwest Burn Foundation; Boys and Girls Clubs; Seattle Public Schools; Urban League of Metro Seattle; Central Area Motivation Program; Seattle Department of Design, Construction and Land Use; Department of Health Services; Rental Housing Association; Catholic Community Services; First AME Church; Country Doctor Community Health Centers; and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids began in New York City in 1981 when Dr. Barbara Barlow, chief of pediatric surgery at Harlem Hospital, established an injury prevention program that became the model for the national coalition. Her ideas on effective approaches to injury prevention led to the development of the Model for Injury Prevention, which forms the basis of all Injury Free Coalition for Kids programs.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grant-making in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse – tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.

About Seattle Children's Hospital

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Children’s has been delivering superior patient care and advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit

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