Background Injuries are the leading cause of death for British Columbians during their first four decades of life costing $3.7 billion annually. Lack of transfer of national and provincial injury prevention efforts to the grass-root level and underutilization of proven preventive strategies at this level has been identified as one of the barriers for injury prevention in BC.
Objective To implement a community mobilization outreach program to strengthen injury prevention efforts at the grass roots level.
Methods A rapid environmental assessment was completed together with the development of an online directory mapping existing and potential injury prevention stakeholders and community groups working on injury prevention priorities across BC. This information was used to facilitate consistent communication, networking and collaboration, and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of injury prevention initiatives.
Findings The online directory served as a hub for forging new connections and greater collaboration among the stakeholder and community groups. Connecting and activating these channels enhanced community involvement in injury prevention initiatives. Provincial health authorities and community involvement in injury prevention programs such as, Safe Kids Week and National Teen Driver Safety Week increased significantly, ranging from 2- to 6-fold increases during the implementation of this grass-roots initiative. As well, a number of new organizations joined to support the effort.
Conclusion Coordinating injury prevention efforts at the community level throughout the province has allowed stakeholders to co-build programs that are mutually supportive, reducing duplication of projects and programs and which facilitated the efficient allocation of limited resources.
Policy implications More efforts should be taken to strengthen community network engagement and stakeholder relations. The evidence from this project indicates that a community mobilization outreach program can have significant positive effect on injury prevention efforts.