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FOR RELEASE: October 3, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Indian Health Service and State Health Department Commit Efforts to Injury Prevention

Injuries are the leading cause of death for persons 1 through 44 years of age. For Oklahoma’s Native American populations, injury accounts for 46 percent of deaths for persons ages 1 through 44. In a unique collaboration to address the problem of injury in the Native American population, as well as all other Oklahomans, the Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service and the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Injury Prevention Service will co-sponsor a training course on injury prevention Oct. 6-9 in Oklahoma City.

Attendees will include tribal and county health department employees who will learn how to use data to identify injury patterns, implement culturally appropriate injury prevention programs in communities, and evaluate those programs.

Because there are a limited number of people in the U.S. who are trained in injury prevention, and even fewer trained to work with Native American populations on injury prevention, the Indian Health Service has developed a comprehensive training program offering three levels of training, as well as yearlong training fellowships. “We are making use of the Indian Health Service’s valuable experience to implement injury prevention programs at our local county health departments,” said Shelli Stephens Stidham, director of the Injury Prevention Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Stephens Stidham noted that the costs of injury to Oklahomans total $2.6 billion each year, including medical and economic costs. “Injuries can have a devastating impact on families and communities,” Stephens Stidham said. “We are pleased to be working with the Indian Health Service in a common commitment toward injury prevention and control of disabling injuries and death.”

The three-day workshop will be held at Hawthorn Suites, 1600 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City.

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