COUNTY TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ‘SAFE COMMUNITY’ DESIGNATION

COUNTY TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ‘SAFE COMMUNITY’ DESIGNATION

County officials, including the members of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners, and local health leaders will address the public and the media on Thursday, May 24, at 10 a.m. in the second floor rotunda of the Doña Ana County Government Center.

The presentation will include an overview of Doña Ana County’s efforts to be designated as an International Safe Community, including specific programs that target injury and violence prevention.
Representatives of the World Health Organization will be on hand to evaluate the county’s application to join the International Safe Community Network.

The recognition would rank Doña Ana County among only 230 designated safe communities worldwide.

The concept of a Safe Community recognizes that no single approach to injury prevention and safety promotion can be as effective as collaboration among community organizations and community members.

To be considered, communities must demonstrate a systematic approach to local injury prevention and safety issues, a collaborative process to address them and a commitment to evaluate the effectiveness of those efforts.
The Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department submitted the application for consideration, and is coordinating several site visits within the county on May 23 and 24.

“Most injuries, especially those suffered by children, are unintentional and completely preventable,” said Jamie Michael of the Doña Ana County Health and Human Service Department. “For instance, simple things like using seat belts and child safety seats greatly decrease our risk of being injured in a car crash.”

Injuries are the leading cause of death among people ages 1 to 44 in New Mexico, according to a report from the New Mexico Department of Health, which also estimated the financial cost of injuries at more than $4 billion each year.

“These types of preventable events put a tremendous strain on our local resources,” Michael said. “This designation will further promote the efforts we’ve made in Doña Ana County to reduce the numbers.”

Dr. Hugo Vilchis, director of the Border Epidemiology and Environmental Health Center and senior researcher at New Mexico State University, also will speak on the impact of injury in border areas like Doña Ana County.

The public and media are invited to ask questions at the event.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews: may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.