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Home Safety - Newsletter

July 15, 2010

Regina M. Benjamin, MD, VADM, USPHS
Office of the Surgeon General
5600 Fishers Lane
Room 18-66
Rockville, MD 20857

Dear Dr. Benjamin:

Congratulations on your appointment as the Chair of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council; and for the leadership role you will have in developing a comprehensive strategy for addressing the health of all citizens through a prevention approach.

The Home Safety Council is the only national nonprofit dedicated to preventing home-related injuries that result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits each year. Prevention is our mission. By educating people of all ages, we help to prevent and reduce the deaths and injuries that happen in and around the home such as falls, poisoning, fires and burns, choking and suffocation, and drowning. We are one of many public health and safety nonprofit organizations that focuses on injury prevention, with the goal of trying to improve the opportunity for all individuals to lead healthy, active, and fulfilling lives.

On the June 30, 2010 conference call hosted by the Trust for America's Health, we were able to hear your plans for the Council and to ask questions or make comments about those plans. I was fortunate to be one of the participants to make a request which you acknowledged was important to implementing a comprehensive approach to health:

Addressing injury prevention as part of the comprehensive strategy, since it is the leading cause of death to Americans ages one through 44; it's the most common cause of premature deaths before age 65; and injury is a major cause of hospitalization, disability, and medical care costs for all age groups.

Engaging other federal agencies, such the Department of Housing and Urban Development, given the home is where many of the injuries to families, and especially children and older adults, are occurring.

The Home Safety Council works closely with our colleagues at CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, as well as the Safe States Alliance (refer to their letter of June 14, 2010). We have a leadership role in the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition, and have a network of nearly 3,000 public life safety educators who work with the fire service, health departments, and local communities with the mission of keeping our families and friends safe from injuries in and around their homes.

Your mandate by the Affordable Care Act through the Council to develop and implement a comprehensive prevention strategy offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of our nation. You have our full support. If we can help in any way, I can be reached at (202) 330-4905 or at patricia.adkins@homesafetycouncil.org.

Sincerely,

Patricia H. Adkins
Chief Operating Officer and
Director of Public Policy

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