Safe States Celebrates 30 Years of Service and Progress in Injury and Violence Prevention

Learning from the past helps to shape the future and save lives.

Safe States celebrates 30 years

The Safe States Alliance is celebrating 30 years of progress in preventing injuries and deaths. Injury prevention is often overlooked in public health discussions; yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the first half of life, more people in the United States still die from violence and injuries — such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, suicides, homicides, or opioid overdoses — than from any other cause, including cancer, HIV, or the flu. 

In May 1993, more than a dozen state health department leaders recognized the need to strengthen their capacity to apply a public health approach to prevent injuries and violence and established the State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association - STIPDA - the organization that went on to become the Safe States Alliance in 2013. This approach involves systematically treating injuries and violence as predictable and preventable outcomes, as we do with infectious diseases, nutrition, and other public health priorities.

Guided by a common mission - to strengthen the practice of injury and violence prevention (IVP), Safe States members have successfully established a strong foundation, developing core competencies for IVP, improving surveillance and data analysis, and advocating for policies and investments. These efforts not only established Safe States as a recognized leader in the field, but have helped expand the science and broaden the practice, moving beyond keeping individuals safe to improving conditions in communities (e.g., access to employment, education, healthcare, and social connections) that influence overall health outcomes.

According to Safe States Executive Director Rich Hamburg, "It's important to communicate that injuries and violence are not accidents or inevitable events. They are predictable and preventable. At Safe States, we support a vision of a nation free from injury and violence where all people are safe where they live, work, travel, and play."

These efforts remain essential and critically necessary. Despite significant progress, preventable fatalities remain high. In the U.S., every 11 minutes someone dies by suicide. On average, 124 people die from firearm-related injuries and 112 from motor vehicle crashes daily. About one in three women and one in four men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. These incidents remain a significant burden costing the U.S. an estimated $4.2 trillion in medical and work loss costs annually.

"Now more than ever, Safe States remains unwavering in our commitment to further strengthen the public health infrastructure necessary for prevention," added Hamburg. Safe States is home to 700+ professionals representing local, federal, and tribal public health, healthcare, community-based organizations, students, and academic researchers. 

To learn about Safe States or how to support the organization's work, check out the 30in30 series highlighting accomplishments over the last 30 years, as well as the most recent annual report

Source: Safe States Alliance