Advocacy

Sometimes, evaluation data indicate that a countermeasure is effective but rarely used. When education is not enough to motivate behavioral change, legislation may have a major impact, particularly when coupled with ongoing education efforts and visible enforcement. For example, states with mandatory motorcycle helmet laws report compliance rates as high as 98 percent.

Coalition building is essential to assemble a broad base of support. Physician leadership is essential to the success of these efforts. The testimonies of health care providers, surviving family members, and disabled individuals are needed to give the statistics an emotional context. Information on the economic impact of injuries and the cost-effectiveness of countermeasures is also helpful.

It is also important to train the next generation of injury control experts. Research suggests that many medical students lack a fundamental understanding of the principles and practice of injury control.19 Academic emergency physicians can play an important role by emphasizing the importance of injury control to their students and trainees.

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