The guiding principles of the IPC shape our organizational culture, and provide direction in all circumstances and decision-making, regardless of changes in our goals, strategies, or leadership. The IPC guiding principles are:
Use data to drive strategies
To prevent injuries and violence, it is important to first understand the problem. What is causing the problem? Who is affected? What are the circumstances in which it occurs? To answer these questions and others, it is critical that data be collected. The IPC collects data from the medical examiner’s office, local hospitals, fire departments, police departments, EMS, schools and others. The data is used to identify populations at risk, determine risk factors, detect emerging issues, and design and evaluate prevention programs.
Collaborate with the community
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. The IPC has an infrastructure that is based on partnership and collaboration. The IPC works collaboratively with more than 100 agencies, social service providers, governmental departments, hospitals, clinics, schools and faith-based organizations to actively engage the community in planning, implementation, and evaluation of injury prevention programs. Additionally, the IPC facilitates or supports coalitions, aimed at reducing injuries and associated deaths.
Use evidenced-based approaches
The IPC utilizes only interventions which have been proven effective and moves beyond ineffective approaches to create systematic, comprehensive strategies that change conditions, which lead to improved community safety measures. There are many scientifically-evaluated, evidence-based interventions that have proven effective in reducing injuries and violence. However, there is often a “knee-jerk” reaction when selecting an intervention – a trap that many organizations/groups fall into when implementing prevention programs. The easiest, most obvious, most affordable, or most acceptable strategy is seldom the most effective. As is the case when selecting treatment for injured patients, knowledge of the range of effective injury prevention strategies is critical when choosing prevention options. Often the “knee-jerk” reaction is a preoccupation with the individual: the blame the victim, train the victim paradigm. Dr. George Albee has said, “No mass disorder afflicting mankind is ever brought under control or eliminated by attempts at treating the individual.” Injury is a mass disorder requiring preventive action. To control this problem, we must move beyond talking to individuals about safety and embrace the wide range of effective population based intervention options.
All too often, prevention programs are implemented and continued because program managers and staff adamantly believe the programs are producing the desired results, yet they have no adequate proof of effectiveness. It is imperative that proper and consistent evaluation be conducted to measure changes in the community. Ineffective programs that continue to be implemented drain sparse resources that would be better spent on effective programs. It’s not enough to have a program and believe that you are making a difference. We must be able to demonstrate that behaviors are changing and injury rates are decreasing. The IPC is committed to conducting formative, process and impact evaluation for all prevention programs to assess if programs are appropriate for the intended audience and determine if the programs are creating the preferred effect.