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Cobb County Public Library Receives Award for Injury Prevention Initiative

30th Anniversary Celebration Point of Light Award Winner Cobb County Public Library
November 6, 2023
IPRCE Director Dr. Jonathan Rupp presented the Award for Outstanding Service during the IPRCE 30th anniversary Points of Light celebration October 27 to, from left, Cobb County Public Services Agency Director Dr. Jatunn Gibson, Cobb Library Director Helen Poyer, and Communications Specialist Tom Brooks, an organizer of the library’s Falls Prevention Awareness initiative.

Cobb County Public Library is the recipient of an award for making “substantial contributions to reducing injury” in Georgia. Cobb Library is among five organizations and five individuals to receive the Award for Outstanding Service presented by the Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory (IPRCE).

The awards were presented recently during the 30th anniversary Points of Light celebration of IPRCE, which is housed in the Emory University School of Medicine. IPRCE membership includes leading injury prevention experts from Cobb Senior Services, Emory, Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), CDC, Shepherd Center, Wellstar Health System, Grady Health System, Mercer University, and other organizations.

Cobb County Public Library workers have collaborated with organizations addressing the devastating personal and community costs of fall injuries since the launch of its community health and public safety Falls Prevention Awareness initiative in 2015. The library has received support from the beginning of the initiative from DPH, Cobb Senior Services and Shepherd Center, one of the country’s top hospitals for rehabilitation.

The library’s Falls Prevention initiative is focused on the hopeful message that falls are not inevitable, officials say. The initiative has included Senior Wellness programs at East Cobb Library, health screening events at South Cobb Regional Library and other libraries, library staff members receiving training to lead A Matter of Balance and Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention classes, Adaptive Gardening at North Cobb Regional and East Cobb libraries, and other programs.

CCPL partnered with DPH and members of the IPRCE Falls Prevention Task Force for the pilot launch in April of the Fall Prevention Nature Walk in place in the spring in the City of Kennesaw’s Swift-Cantrell Park. Officials are promoting the Falls Walk, which consists of 24 informational panels posted on a path, for future installations throughout Georgia.

Serious fall injuries are costly for Cobb families and area healthcare and public safety agencies. The initiative includes messages for the public to promote awareness that Fire and EMS sirens and the Air Ambulances passing overhead are often on emergency fall calls.

In 2022, according to DPH’s OASIS data dashboard, there were Emergency Room visits by 8,463 Cobb residents caused by Falls. For comparison, last year 5,305 Cobb residents went to ERs due to Motor Vehicle Accidents. Last year, fall injuries of children age 9 and younger accounted for 1,167 ER visits.