March 26, 2007

Safety Center to host injury prevention symposium

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Nationally prominent safety experts will speak at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Safety Center's first-ever symposium on injury prevention and control set for 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, April 6, in the auditorium of the new Student Health Center, 374 E. Grand Ave., next to the Student Recreation Center.

Julia Field Costich and Michael Singleton from the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center, Jingzhen "Ginger" Yang from the Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center, and Robert Aherin of the University of Illinois' Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, will make up the speaker roster. Topics include farm safety, emergency preparedness and the latest in research findings from the two centers.

"I wanted to get people from injury centers that had some proximity to Illinois because they would deal with similar types of injuries as to what we do," said Bart J. Hammig, an associate professor in SIUC's Department of Health Education and Recreation and director of the campus Safety Center since last fall.

"These people are major players in the field of injury, so we hope we have a good turnout."

Hammig said the presentations should interest both academic and agency representatives who work in safety education, policy, programming, evaluation and intervention. He hopes those who attend will find colleagues with whom they can work on interdisciplinary projects and activities.

"This is a new direction for the center, and the more people we can collaborate with, the better," he said.

The Iowa center is one of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control's 11 "Centers of Excellence." It focuses particularly on preventing and reducing rural injuries. The Kentucky center, which receives both state and federal funding, conducts research and educational activities with a focus on Kentucky.

"These centers generate a large amount of federal external funding for research and training," Hammig said.

"We would like to use them as a model for the future of our Safety Center. We're setting our sights pretty high."

The speakers will meet with Safety Center staff before the symposium to discuss steps the Safety Center could take to move in that new direction. Hammig also encourages anyone with an interest in participating in an interdisciplinary injury research group to contact him by e-mail at before or after the symposium.

"We hope to put together a group that could meet a week or so after the symposium to brainstorm about opportunities regarding collaboration," he said.