November 22, 2013 marks the 50thanniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a dark day in the history of a city that I have come to love. However, Dallas citizens and leaders are commemorating the anniversary by honoring the life of the late President by doing something befitting his legacy and commitment to service – they have organized the Dallas County JFK Day of Serviceto encourage volunteering at more than 50 area civic organizations in Dallas.
Today, I participated in one of the Day of Service events along with several other employees of Parkland Hospital. I’m appreciative of the opportunity to honor President Kennedy’s vision with other Parkland employees. I’m equally excited and proud of the fact that the staff of the Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas (IPC) serves this community on a daily basis. The IPC’s ties to the former president are deep. Not only are we housed at Parkland Hospital, but one of the founders of the IPC was Dr. James Carrico, the first physician to examine President Kennedy when he arrived at Parkland. Dr. Carrico and several other visionary leaders established the IPC in 1994 (see our list founders at http://www.injurypreventioncenter.org/UserFiles/files/Founders.pdf). The IPC is a community-based organization that serves Dallas County by implementing and evaluating primary prevention strategies designed to keep our citizens and visitors safe from injuries and violence where they live, work, learn and play.
Like the committed physicians, nurses and other staff who worked diligently to save the life of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Parkland employees continue to have the same commitment and dedication to saving the lives of the thousands of trauma patients who have arrived at this hallowed institution since that fateful day in 1963. While hospital staff treats patients, IPC staff members are in the community working to ensure that the car crash or house fire or any other injury incident never occurs – so that people don’t have to go the hospital in the first place.
Operation Installation, a joint smoke alarm installation program of the IPC and Dallas Fire-Rescue has decreased deaths and injuries due to house fires by 63% in neighborhoods where smoke alarms have been installed. The IPC’s more than 10 years of conducting child passenger safety community-based interventions has resulted in consistent increases in child passenger safety use, which leads to decreased motor vehicle deaths and injuries. But these changes haven’t come because of the IPC’s work alone – it’s through the collaborative efforts of our partner agencies and organizations who work tirelessly with us to prevent traffic deaths, burns, drowning, child abuse, domestic violence, poisoning and suicide.
On this Day of Service, I want to salute our colleagues and partners in Dallas, as well as all of my injury and violence prevention friends across the country. JFK’s spirit of service remains alive and well. #AskNot