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2013 marks our program's 30th anniversary and we want you to help us celebrate!

Injuries and violence can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to lead an active, fulfilling life. Injuries are the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 1-44. Every day in Utah, four people die and 475 are hospitalized or treated in an emergency department due to injury or violence. Thankfully, research shows that most injuries are predictable and preventable.

In 1983, Dr. Peter van Dyck, a longtime national leader in the maternal and child health field and former Director of what was then known as the Family Health Services Division at the Utah Department of Health, recognized the dangers unintentional injuries were to Utah children. Together with Trisha Keller, Program Manager of the Violence and Injury Prevention Program, they established a program dedicated to keeping children safe. This made the Utah Department of Health one of the first five state health departments in the country to have an injury prevention program.

Our program's first project was figuring out where, when, how, and why students got hurt at school. We worked with the State Office of Education, local school districts, and local schools to develop a system to track student injuries and then use that data to make changes like installing safer playground equipment to prevent further injuries. That was in 1984 and the system, known as the Student Injury Reporting System, is still in existence today.

Open House

On November 14, 2013, we hosted an open house to celebrate 30 years of keeping Utahns safe. A special media event was held to highlight a few of the many achievements made over the past three decades. Speakers included Rep. Tim Cosgrove, Utah House of Representatives; Ned Searle, Director of the Utah Office on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Ron Roskos, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah, and Trisha Keller, Program Manager of the Violence and Injury Prevention Program.

A giant, 15 foot timeline highighting accomplishments each year since 1983 was on display.

30 Years Timeline
(Download each of the 3 files to get the complete timeline)

Tell Us Your Story!

We would like to hear from Utahns who have been positively impacted by these prevention efforts over the past three decades. To submit your story, visit the Utah Health Story Bank at http://health.utah.gov/bhp/sb/ or contact the Violence and Injury Prevention Program at 801-538-9416.