Injuries from trauma can lead to disability or death and can affect us all. But many injuries can be prevented or avoided with a few safety precautions.
The Trauma Prevention and Outreach Program at UC San Diego Health is committed to preventing and reducing injuries through education, outreach and the strength of community partnerships. We want to share the best ideas in injury prevention with the San Diego community through our community collaborations and our successful trauma prevention programs.
Learn how you can help keep yourself and your family safe:
Effective, Evidence-Based Strategies for Trauma Prevention
We can work together through education, research and community outreach to improve and coordinate injury prevention efforts to prevent them for happening in the first place. Our
Level 1 Trauma Center provides outstanding and effective patient care, but we envision prevention as the cure for traumatic injury and death. We’re taking action with these strategies:
- Through trusted partnerships with other hospitals, universities, police and fire departments, and local nonprofit agencies. This proactive approach allows us to share and combine expertise and research findings as well as share prevention initiatives with those at highest risk for traumatic injury. Our partners include the
San Diego County Fall Prevention Task Force, the
City of San Diego Vision Zero program, the
Burn Institute and
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
- Through research and knowledge gained in academic medicine. Research shows that implementation of best-practice programs can reduce traumatic injuries and death. We apply the knowledge we gain through academic medicine to create highly effective injury-prevention strategies. Learn more about our efforts:
- Through outreach to the community with programs such as
Stop The Bleed, the hands-on bleeding control training for the public from the American College of Surgeons, to save lives that could otherwise be lost due to preventable injury.
Video: How to Stop the Bleed
Bystanders can help save lives during an emergency by stopping blood loss in a severely injured person. Watch this video featuring UC San Diego Health trauma surgeon
Jay Doucet, MD, demonstrating three methods.
Stay Informed Through Injury Prevention Programs
We offer and support expert-led programs that prevent injuries, through collaborative efforts between various organizations in San Diego County and UC San Diego experts at the
Trauma Research & Education Foundation and
Injury Epidemiology, Prevention & Research Center. In addition, UC San Diego's
Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program conducts research on driver and pedestrian safety.
Here are some trauma prevention programs.
Falls are one of the leading causes of hospitalization, especially among seniors, and can lead to health complications. In San Diego County, one in four older adults (ages 65+) fall each year. UC San Diego Health supports the
San Diego County Fall Prevention Task Force in educating older adults about preventing falls.
The good news is there are ways to reduce the risk of falls and stay active and independent, including:
Physician alert: Tell your doctor if you have fallen, feel unsteady when standing or walking, or are afraid you might fall.
Fall risk: Are you at risk for falling? Get more information and answer questions on this checklist:
Stay independent (English) or
Mantenga su independencia (Spanish)
Medication review: Ask your doctor or a pharmacist to review your medications and supplements to check for side effects, including drowsiness and dizziness.
Vision check: Have your vision checked at least once a year and update your eyeglasses as needed.
Feet check: Get your feet checked and wear proper footwear to prevent your risk of tripping.
Home safety: Many falls happen at home, so make your house and surroundings safer by adding supports and removing hazards that may cause you to trip.
Use a fall prevention checklist to find and fix hazards in your home.
Exercise: Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your gait, strength and balance, such as:
Chair exercises: If you’re able and want to try these exercises, take a look at
chair rise exercise (English) or
Ejercicio de elevacion para hacer con una sill (Spanish).
Tai Chi for Better Balance: San Diego County offers in-person tai chi classes for older adults. The program has been shown to improve postural stability, awareness and mindful control of body positioning in space, functional walking, range of motion around the ankle and hip joints, lower-extremity muscle strength and global cognitive function. Registration is required — please call 858-495-5998 or email
HealthierLiving.HHSA@sdcounty.ca.gov to register.
Traffic collisions account for the majority of deaths and injuries across all age groups and 95 percent of these are preventable. That’s why UC San Diego Health is aiding community efforts to reverse this trend by:
- Collaborating with our
San Diego Trauma System partners to enhance countywide reach.
- Providing education and training programs to improve roadway safety through
our TREDS programs, as well as conducting research to inform public policy.
Here are some tips on driving safely to protect yourself and others.
1. Be a safe driver.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Don’t speed — follow the speed limit and adjust for road conditions.
- Use your signals.
- Slow down at intersections — don’t race through the yellow light. Stop on red.
- Leave a little extra space between your car and the vehicle in front of you.
2. Avoid distracted driving or driver inattention.
- End your phone conversation before you start driving.
- Turn off or silence your phone while driving.
- Never text and drive. Use a phone app that automatically rejects calls and texts when you’re driving.
- Program your map or review directions before you start driving.
- If you’re a passenger, model safe behavior for others. Ask the driver not to use their phone and offer to manage their phone.
- Learn more about our
driver education and training programs that are aimed at reducing collisions caused by distracted driving.
- Get safe driving advice by watching the Take Action Against Distraction video on the dangers of distracted driving:
3. Don’t drink and drive.
A DUI crash is 100% preventable. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether legal or illegal, increases the risk of a vehicle crash. Take these steps if you’re planning to drink:
- Plan ahead — don’t consume impairing substances if you know you’re driving.
- Designate a driver.
- Know who you can call — a sober friend, taxi or rideshare — and don’t drive under the influence.
Watch these videos and drive sober:
- Impaired driving is not an accident. Learn what happens at a DUI checkpoint:
- Driving high is DUI. Get more information on the effects of marijuana use on driving.
- Learn more about
blood alcohol content and driving.
UC San Diego Health is working with the
City of San Diego’s Vision Zero pedestrian safety committee, providing data to support changes to make streets and sidewalks safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorized vehicles. Here are some tips for pedestrians:
- Cross in marked crosswalks and follow pedestrian signals.
- Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you.
- Put the phone down — don’t be distracted.
- Be seen — wear reflective clothing when walking at night.
- Watch a video on how to walk safely from TREDS, which is doing research on pedestrian safety:
Many gun deaths and injuries can be prevented. Here are some tips:
- Always assume a gun is loaded.
- Store firearms safely.
- Keep guns away from those at risk of hurting themselves or others.
- Read a guide on protecting you and those around you:
Each year, approximately 4,500 people die from a burn-related injury. The collaborative efforts of the
UC San Diego Health Regional Burn Center, the
Burn Institute and San Diego County provide burn prevention education and burn survivor events.
Learn More and Offer Support