Trauma Prevention

Don't text and drive sign.

Did You Know?

  • Injuries from trauma that are the most life-threatening are also the most preventable.
  • Trauma occurs every four seconds.
  • Every six minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from trauma and another is permanently disabled.
  • Motor vehicles account for nearly 75 percent of the traumatic injuries in San Diego County, and over half of those who die are not wearing seat belts.

“Trauma is not just something that happens to other people. It’s not just a paragraph in a police report. Trauma is a disease that could affect anyone, but more importantly, it is something that we can all prevent.”
Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD

Helping Prevent Death and Injury From Trauma

UC San Diego Health has helped establish injury and trauma prevention as a serious goal in San Diego County.

Our Trauma Center is taking action to prevent trauma-related death and injury through:

  • Partnerships with other universities, police departments, and local nonprofits. Taking a proactive, collaborative approach allows us to share and combine expertise and research findings. Through the community, prevention initiatives can be extended to those at highest risk for traumatic injury.
  • New research that implements best-practice programs shown to reduce injures and trauma. We apply the knowledge we gain through academic medicine to create highly effective injury prevention strategies. bullet Learn about our research.

Trauma Prevention Videos

Learn valuable tips on how to prevent injuries from trauma on the road and at home.

Avoid Distractions While Driving

The UC San Diego Trauma Division presents a series of short animated video clips on driving safely. (Length: approx. 8 min.)

Home Safety Makeover in a Day

Increase safety in your home and prevent injuries by learning how to identify and fix potential dangers. (Length: 22 min.)

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Trauma Prevention Programs

Thanks to collaborative efforts between various organizations and our experts at Trauma Research & Education Foundation and Injury Epidemiology, Prevention & Research Center, we have successfully launched several trauma prevention programs in San Diego.

Drive Attentively San Diego

Recognizing that traffic collisions account for the majority of deaths and injuries across all age groups and that 95 percent of these are preventable, UC San Diego Health is taking a major role in community efforts to reverse this trend. Some of the initiatives we are leading include:
  • Partnering with the San Diego Trauma System for countywide reach.
  • Partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to reduce underage drinking and drinking and driving.
  • Convening multiple community agencies through the TREF Safe Teen Driving Council.
  • Adding data collection to the San Diego Sheriff’s Start Smart classes.
  • Adding a safety component to the countywide Bike to Work Day.

OMG Anti-Texting While Driving Campaign

TREF’s collaboration with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) creates and distributes poignant teen focused messages regarding the deadly distractions of texting while driving. Posters, school folders, and other targeted materials are provided to teens and parents through San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Start Smart Classes at high schools, and other venues to create top of mind awareness that lives can be saved when drivers refrain from texting while driving.

Helmets 4 All

Helmets 4 All is a bicycle safety education program started in 2011 in partnership with the El Cajon Fire Department. The program targets teens in the Granite Hills area of San Diego County. Given the fire department's unique familiarity with the community, TREF utilized this relationship to increase bicycle helmet use among teens. Firefighters observed helmet use near schools and areas frequented by teens, and gave out new helmets to teens not wearing one, along with bicycle safety information. Teens wearing helmets received a gift card to Subway. Firefighters will continue to observe these areas and see whether the 300 helmets provided and gift cards increased use. If the results look favorable, the program will be duplicated in the City Heights area.

Bike to Work Day

UC San Diego Health hosts two pit stops in the countywide Bike to Work Day each May. In partnership with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and the local sponsor of the event, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), we provide information about bicycle safety, helmet use, rules of the road, bike maintenance, commute planning, and bicycle safety class information.

Burn Prevention Education

Each year, approximately 4,500 people die from burn-related injury. In collaboration with the Burn Institute and with the San Diego County "Before the Threat" fire and trauma initiative, we give burn prevention and safety presentations to parent groups, school children and at community events all over San Diego. Community events where we teach about burn safety include:
  • Fire Expo at the San Diego County fairgrounds in June
  • Summer Movies in the Park-4S Ranch in September
  • City of Coronado Fire Department Open House in October
  • North County Fire Open House in October

San Diego Science Alliance High Tech Fair

At this annual event, teens learn about the impact of a vehicle traffic collision on the body and see the remains of a real crashed car. UC San Diego trauma team members collaborate with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and DriveCam to educate students about traumatic injuries.

San Diego Report to the Community on Child and Teen Safety

At this special event, leaders in San Diego trauma care and prevention will report to the community on the status of injury for children and teens. Held at the Ultra Star Cinema, at Hazard Center in Mission Valley; the Home Safety QuickFix video will also be premiered. This event is co-sponsored by the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services, SafeKids and TREF.

For more information on our prevention programs, email the Trauma and Burn Prevention Coordinator, Jan Ferree, MA:

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