ThinkFirst Receives Congress of Neurological Surgeons Award

WARRENVILLE, Ill., November XX, 2009 -- On October 26, 2009, the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation was recognized as a leader in injury prevention by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS). CNS presented the 2009 Distinguished Service Award to the ThinkFirst Foundation at the CNS Annual Meeting of over 2,000 neurosurgeons in New Orleans.

The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation has been focused on teaching children and teens the importance of making safe choices since 1986. Educational programs for first through twelfth grades have a major impact on impressing kids to “Think First” when it comes to safety.

Presented by Seattle neurosurgeon Richard Ellenbogen, M.D., a past president of CNS, ThinkFirst was recognized for its work in providing meaningful, educational injury prevention programs to thousands of children and teens each year. One hundred and thirty national and 39 international chapters visit health, science and driver education classes to teach students how to reduce their risk for injury. Based largely in injury prevention departments within hospitals and medical universities, nurses, health educators and their sponsoring physicians schedule programs with schools to assure every child and teen in a given community learns simple measures for protecting themselves from the most common causes of injury: vehicle crashes, violence, falls and sports.

Injury is the leading cause of death for children and teens. Key to ThinkFirst’s success is helping kids understand the need to protect their brain and spinal cord to prevent these traumatic injuries. ThinkFirst For Kids utilizes the animated character “Street Smart” to keep the message fun for elementary children. For students in middle school and high school, ThinkFirst VIP speakers – Voices for Injury Prevention – share their personal stories of how one decision caused an injury that changed their life forever. Teens learn that injuries can happen to anyone, but simple measures like wearing a seat belt, using correct safety gear, and avoiding violence can make the difference between life and death, or living with paralysis or a brain injury.

Formerly known as the National Head and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Program, ThinkFirst was established in 1986. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) directed two neurosurgeons, E. Fletcher Eyster, M.D., of Pensacola, Fla. and Clark Watts, M.D., of Columbia, Mo., to develop a national injury prevention program. ThinkFirst has since developed into one of the largest injury prevention programs in both the U.S. and Canada and has several studies in medical journals demonstrating its effectiveness. The last international training, held at Harvard Medical School in August, included physicians from Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal.

About ThinkFirst The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, based in the Chicago suburb of Warrenville, is a resource for program materials, training and support for ThinkFirst chapters. An independent 501c3 charitable organization, ThinkFirst relies on the support of physicians, corporations, foundations and individuals for program development. One of the most recent projects was the production of a new educational film for teens titled “Think About Your Choices,” with support from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. For more information on ThinkFirst visit