A crash survivor promotes safe teen driving: UM School of Medicine expands injury prevention program with grant from Health Foundation of South Florida

 

(Press Release 2002)

Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for 15 to 20 years olds in 2000, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  That alarming fact moved the Health Foundation of South Florida to award $55,000 to expand an existing injury prevention and education program at the University of Miami School of Medicine's William Lehman Injury Research Center entitled "Adam " A Survivor's Story."

Seven years ago, Adam Blomberg suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash.  Today he is a successful, energetic medical student about to begin his third year at the University of Miami School of Medicine.  For the past couple of years, through the Lehman Injury Research Center, he has turned his survival story into a mission -- educating high school students and community organizations about the importance of responsible, safe driving.

"Technically, I shouldn't have survived that car crash, but I survived for a reason: to keep others from making some of the mistakes made by my friends and I," Blomberg says.  Graphic photographs and video drive the point home.  His multimedia presentation touches on road rage, drunk driving, and the necessity of seatbelts, not only for the driver, but for passengers as well.  Adam was one such passenger not wearing his seatbelt.

The grant will assist in expanding Adam's presentation to more South Florida high schools, primarily 10th and 11th graders.  It will also provide production assistance for a professional CD-rom presentation that together with another crash survivor's personal account could make this material replicable in many more schools.  Evaluating whether the presentations ultimately change teens' awareness and behavior is the final piece of the grant.

"The goal of this program is really two-fold," says Jeffrey Augenstein, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., professor of surgery and director of UM's Lehman Injury Research Center.  "First, we simply need to get out there and deliver the safe driving message as much as we can.  Secondly, we will evaluate what impact it has both immediately and in the long run on its ability to influence risky driving behavior. Our goal is to build a strong, successful prevention education program for our young adults in Miami-Dade County. We strongly believe based on anecdotal information received by Adam that a message delivered by a peer presenter who is also a crash survivor provides the audience with a message that really hits home.  Education is a critical function and major priority of the Lehman Center." 

The Health Foundation of South Florida was established in 1993 as a not-for-profit charity, funding medical research, education and primary healthcare initiatives.  The Foundation has awarded over $37 million in grants for programs supporting the underserved in South Florida.




2005, Adam L. Blomberg, M.D.