Starting a ThinkFirst Chapter in the United States

The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation (ThinkFirst Foundation) has chapters throughout the United States and across the globe, providing ThinkFirst educational programs to schools and community groups. ThinkFirst chapters may be based in medical centers, medical universities, physician practices, health departments, health associations such as the Brain Injury or Spinal Cord Injury Associations, or as an independent organization. Each chapter is required to have a chapter director and a sponsoring licensed physician referred to as the ThinkFirst chapter's medical director (previously known as the sponsoring physician). The medical director serves as a medical advisor and is responsible for advocating for injury prevention education and the importance of supporting a ThinkFirst chapter. It is also the medical director's role to promote ThinkFirst and injury prevention in general to the community. 

The chapter director conducts the daily operation of the chapter and administration of the programs. The director is generally a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, health educator, or medical auxiliary member, and is often the injury prevention coordinator or manager in a hospital or medical university setting. Depending on the goals set for the chapter and available resources, this can be a part-time coordinator position with a limited number of schools visited each year, or a full-time position responsible for conducting many school presentations throughout a community, county, or region.

The cost of operating a chapter varies, depending on the size of the population being served. Expenses include the salary of the injury prevention coordinator (chapter director), VIP speaker fees, and initial equipment investment (e.g., spine and skull models). It is helpful if the sponsoring medical center provides for some or all of the chapter director's salary and benefits, as well as office expenses, program materials, and travel. Otherwise, funding will need to be secured through other means, such as grants, donations or fundraising events.

The following steps are suggested to establish a chapter:

  1. Learn about local chapters that may already be underway by going to the chapter directory on our website.
  2. If no local chapter is available, enlist local support for establishment of a chapter. The ThinkFirst Foundation can provide advice on initiating a chapter. They can also provide contact information for your state chapter director for further help and advice. Heavily populated areas often have more than one chapter; contact the ThinkFirst Foundation or the local chapter to determine needs.
  3. Identify the people who will serve as your chapter director and the licensed physician to serve as the medical director.
  4. Send completed ThinkFirst Chapter Application, CVs/resumes of chapter director and medical director, and application fee (see the application for details) to the ThinkFirst Foundation. The fee includes initial membership, training, and materials.
  5. Once your application is approved, the ThinkFirst Foundation will offer training options. Training is available at several training centers throughout the US, through interactive online webinars, and onsite (fees apply). The chapter director will receive instruction from a qualified ThinkFirst trainer on chapter development and program implementation and evaluation, as well as annual chapter requirements membership including tracking and reporting programs.
  6. Upon completion of the training, you will receive or gain online access to the following materials:
    • ThinkFirst For Kids assembly script, "Street Smart: A ThinkFirst Adventure" video, set of 5 posters
    • ThinkFirst "Decisions Matter" Chapter Presenter’s video for Teens and Youth presentations
    • ThinkFirst For Teens PowerPoint Presentation and suggested script
    • VIP Speaker Training Program DVD
    • ThinkFirst About Concussion presentation PowerPoint and video
    • ThinkFirst to Prevent Falls presentation PowerPoint and handouts
    • ThinkFirst For Your Baby; approval to attend additional instructor training
    • ThinkFirst products at chapter prices
    • Member pricing for annual ThinkFirst Conference on Injury Prevention
    • Use of the ThinkFirst name, logo, and ability to create your ThinkFirst chapter name and logo for approved use

Materials included may change at the discretion of the National Office

Additional products are available for purchase through the ThinkFirst website. To start a chapter or obtain further information about ThinkFirst products, please contact the ThinkFirst Foundation.