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Injury prevention and poverty
  1. F P Rivara
  1. Harborview Injury Prevention & Research, Box 359960, Seattle, WA 98104, USA; fpr{at}

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    Dr Pless’s editorial on injury prevention and terrorism in the October issue of the journal addresses perhaps the two most pressing problems of society at this time—poverty and terrorism.1 For us in the field of injury prevention, one of the threads that ties preventing injuries to addressing poverty is education. Educated individuals have lower rates of risk taking behaviors, less exposure to hazardous environments, better use of safety devices, and thus lower rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries. In the developing world, one of the best predictors of infant mortality and a break in the intergenerational cycle of poverty is the educational status of the parents, especially the mother. Early education can have a lifelong effect on later academic success and thus employment success.

    How do we translate Dr Pless’s words and mine above to meaningful action? The commentaries from two heroes of injury prevention in the same edition of the journal demonstrate far better than our words that actions by single individuals can make a difference across an entire country.2,3