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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - fall 2012 Download Newsletter pdf
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Fall 2012

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Looking at Highway Safety through Public Health Lens

The 2012 GHSA Annual Meeting, held August 26 – 29 in Baltimore, explored highway safety from the public health perspective, focusing on how to apply successes in public health and highway safety to continue improving safety on our nation’s roadways. Attendees also learned how highway safety professionals can work more closely with the public health community to make highway safety a top public health priority.

Maryland State Police Superintendent Marcus Brown, keynote speaker U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari, and NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
Maryland State Police Superintendent Marcus Brown, keynote speaker U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari, and NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

The keynote speakers during Monday’s opening general session were U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari and director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Dr. Linda Degutis. Porcari shared his perspective on public health and highway safety, while Degutis reiterated CDC’s commitment to continue to focus on highway safety as a priority issue.

On Tuesday, meeting attendees heard from three more national public health experts. Dr. Carolyn Cumpsty Fowler, from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, discussed how approaches used to tackle public health problems can be applied to motor vehicle injury reduction. Executive Director of the American Public Health Association Dr. Georges Benjamin reviewed lessons learned from public health efforts (such as smoking cessation and reducing obesity) and their implication for motor vehicle injury prevention. And Dr. Flaura Winston covered how the Center for Injury Research and Prevention’s work with young children and teens has improved the safety of those populations in motor vehicles.

Board
The new GHSA 2012-2013 Executive Board (left to right): Chairman Kendell Poole (Tennessee); Secretary Jana Simpler (Delaware); Vice Chairman John Saunders (Virginia); and Treasurer Terry Henderson (Alabama).

The Closing Luncheon speaker on Wednesday was author and commentator Tom Vanderbilt, who gave a thought-provoking talk on his recent work in the public health area, focusing on pedestrian safety and obesity reduction.

Breakout workshops also addressed the link between public health and highway safety. Topics included: post-crash EMS countermeasures that can improve survivability; utilizing public health approaches to make highway safety a cultural norm; and medical approaches to teen driver safety.

In addition to general sessions and workshops, the meeting agenda also included GHSA’s annual state-only business meeting, presentation of the 2012 highway safety awards, and several networking opportunities.