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Partnerships for Unintentional Injury Prevention Programs

Unintentional injury prevention programs may consider partnering with multiple different organizations and individuals:

  • Large businesses and professional associations, such as insurance companies, may be able to sponsor events, provide supplies, or offer funding for safety activities related to their work or organizational mission.
  • Local community organizations, such as public libraries, schools, and early childcare programs, may provide physical space and time to host programs or distribute materials to raise awareness of programs. Certain community organizations may be able to offer volunteers to support program activities.
  • Universities, Extension programs, and community colleges may be able to offer affordable services, such as safety inspections, program evaluations, research, or trainings and certifications. These organizations may also offer student volunteers, subject-matter experts, and other experienced personnel to support program activities.
  • Local municipal councils and legislators may facilitate connections to other key partners or provide funding opportunities. Rural program planners may consider sharing outcomes of unintentional injury programs with local municipal councils and legislators to help them understand the impact of programs in the community.
  • Local healthcare providers may be able to help rural programs collect and track data on unintentional injuries in the community, disseminate preventive information to patients, or conduct screenings for certain conditions that increase risk of unintentional injury. Local healthcare providers that specialize in treating injuries and trauma care may also be helpful speakers or safety advocates for program events.
  • Law enforcement and emergency services may support programming by providing data on unintentional injuries, disseminating information, distributing safety devices (for example gun locks, smoke detectors), and sharing safety advice based on their experiences responding to unintentional injuries.
  • Other similar unintentional injury programs and networks may be able to offer suggestions for program implementation and lessons learned from their own experiences or other support.

Programs should consider partnering with individuals and organizations that are influential and trusted in their community. For example, the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) found that firefighters are highly esteemed in rural areas and leveraged them as messengers in their Rural Firefighters Delivering Agricultural Safety and Health (RF-DASH) program. Programs may also consider partnering with an established safety advocate or safety champion in the community, such as someone personally affected by an unintentional injury. Programs implementing home visits should consider partnering with organizations and individuals that are established and active in the community, such as religious leaders, social service agencies, and local officials. These programs may also consider collaborating with other groups that regularly conduct home visits, such as faith-based organizations and Meals on Wheels.

Programs may consider how to engage partners that are especially trusted among certain audiences and populations of interest. For instance, the Alabama Department of Public Health disseminates safe sleep information to both pregnant women and new mothers, as well as their support systems, to engage family members as trusted messengers. Programs delivering unintentional injury prevention education to children should also consider partnering with people in the community with whom children are already familiar. For example, children may be more likely to engage with fire safety lessons led by a local firefighter that they know and recognize.

Some states and regions may have existing unintentional injury coalitions, including those that address unintentional injuries broadly and those that are specific to certain injury types. Programs may consider joining active coalitions or forming unintentional injury coalitions with similar organizations in their community. Coalitions with diverse partners can provide opportunities to pool resources and address gaps in community services. The National Council on Aging identifies several goals of coalitions, including increasing provider participation, increasing investment in injury prevention, improving data collection and data systems, and evaluating program activities. Safe Kids Worldwide uses the coalition model to promote child safety within states and counties across the county.

To begin building relationships and buy-in with partners, rural program planners may find it helpful to host small meetings, gatherings, or events with potential partners and present a general overview of the program's goals, activities, and intended outcomes. Small incentives, such as a free meal, may encourage attendance at these meetings. It is also important to show partners regular recognition and appreciation for their contributions, both big and small.

Resources to Learn More

Developing Effective Coalitions: An Eight Step Guide
Provides a framework for building coalitions of individuals, organizations, and government who work together on projects to address community issues.
Organization(s): Prevention Institute

Mitigation of the Rural Fire Problem: Chapter 6. Networks and Organizations in Rural America
Identifies the types of organizations in rural communities that may work together to undertake fire safety programs.
Organization(s): U.S. Fire Administration
Date: 12/2007