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Media Contact: Juliette Merchant 19 November 2007
  jmmerch@emory.edu    
  (404) 778-1503   Print  | Email ]
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Emory Neurosurgeon Hopes to Head off Youth Trauma with Prevention Day
WHAT: Youth Trauma Prevention Day

WHEN: Wednesday November 28, 2007, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Grady Memorial Hospital

WHO: Dr. Odette Harris, Dr. Leon Haley, Dr. Grace Rozycki, Dr. William Weaver, Dr. George Wright, Dr. Steve Roser, Tom Arrendale, RN Jemma Gaslow, RN, Colbert White, students from King Middle School, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

It is an exciting time to be a teen. From high-tech phones, to the latest fashions, to must-have computer gadgets, it's all about asserting independence. It's also a scary time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 500,000 youth in the United States will sustain a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury this year.

For children and teens, injury is the leading cause of death. The most frequent causes of these injuries are motor vehicle crashes, violence, falls, sports and recreation. The good news is the old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," holds true, as most youth-related injures are preventable.

On November 28, the neurosurgery department and trauma team at Grady Memorial Hospital will host a Youth Trauma Prevention Day for students from King Middle School, in cooperation with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Partners for Education Program.

During the half-day event students will learn about the anatomy and physiology of trauma and receive a demonstration of trauma services from first responders on the emergency room team, operating room team and intensive care unit.

Odette A. Harris, MD, assistant professor, Emory University School of Medicine and chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital, hopes the event, which is dedicated to public education and injury prevention, will serve as a pilot program for neighborhood schools.

"If we can get young people to realize they are not invincible and that their actions are potentially harmful and even have fatal consequences, perhaps we can affect change and ultimately reduce the significant volume of trauma-related injuries seen in emergency rooms across the country," says Dr. Harris.

In this era of information overload, Dr. Harris realizes reaching today's youth is a challenge. So rather than simply preach a message of safety, Dr. Harris, along with colleagues at Grady Memorial Hospital, will give students a practical and shocking up-close look at trauma in one of the region's only Level I trauma centers.

"As a neurosurgeon I see the catastrophic effects of trauma from the ill decision not to buckle-up or wear a helmet, or from gang related violence, etc.," says Dr. Harris. "Unfortunately most of the interventions performed by neurosurgeons can only address the secondary consequences of these injuries. The most effective means of addressing primary injury is prevention!"

This first Youth Trauma Prevention Day is patterned after the ThinkFirst programs, which educate young people about their personal vulnerability and the importance of making safe choices. Their message is: You can have a fun-filled, exciting life without hurting yourself if you "think first." Buckle up. Drive safely and sober. Avoid violent situations. Lower your risk of falls. Wear a helmet. Check the water before you dive. Use your mind to protect your body!

Thanks to corporate sponsors Integra, Stryker, Synthes and Neuropath, students will walk away with a trauma souvenir bag and lunch.



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