Rogers-Lowell Area News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
5/20/2019 Member News
Northwest Health Launches ThinkFirst Injury-Prevention Program

Northwest Health has just launched the state’s first activities connected to Northwest Arkansas’ ThinkFirst Chapter, an initiative by the National Injury Prevention Foundation designed to help prevent brain and spinal cord injuries, among other traumatic injuries. Traumatic injury is a leading cause of death and disability among children, teens and adults.

Brendi Gale, RN, Trauma Coordinator for Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville, is the NWA ThinkFirst Chapter Chairman. “Among the steps that can reduce injury are wearing bike and sports helmets,” she said. “We’re excited to have a team of Northwest Health staff serving at this weekend’s Square 2 Square biking event, providing education and distributing free bike helmets, thanks to a donation of 100 helmets by Bell Helmets.”

Gale has long been an advocate for injury prevention and is Injury Prevention Chair for the Trauma Regional Advisory Council. She was recently recognized as one of Arkansas’ 100 Great Nurses, in part for her work in conducting a major initiative last year to educate high school students on distracted driving. She partnered with Bentonville High School Ignite students, the Emergency Nurses Association, Northwest Health and the Bentonville and Centerton Fire Departments to develop a 'wake-up call' which included a docudrama featuring a "fatal car crash" resulting in the death of two students and a family member. This garnered both local and national visibility with a feature article in the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) magazine.

“We want to help prevent traumatic injury, not just treat it,” said Dr. Joe Olivi, Medical Director for Trauma Services for Northwest Health. He is also serving as Medical Director for the ThinkFirst Chapter. “The most frequent causes are vehicle crashes, violence, falls and sports, but we know that simple actions can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Through our ThinkFirst programming, we are focusing on creating awareness and providing education to help people use their minds to protect their bodies.”

Maddie Gale, Northwest Health Trauma Registrar, also plays a major role in Northwest Health’s ThinkFirst programming, giving insight from hospital data as to types of trauma that provide the greatest opportunities for education and training.

Other actions that can help prevent traumatic injuries including wearing seat belts and driving safe, sober and without distractions.