(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.