Memorial Hospital’s Trauma Department plays an active role in prevention by offering a variety of injury prevention programs throughout Southern Colorado. One program, P.A.R.T.Y. (Preventing Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth), is an international evidence-based program that provides education for young drivers and at-risk youth. The program is presented in an experiential format that provides perspectives from law enforcement, the medical community, and survivors.

During P.A.R.T.Y.’s five-hour high school program, students learn about the consequences of poor choices, not only for themselves, but for their families and communities as well. They follow the course of an automobile injury from occurrence through transport, treatment, rehabilitation, and community re-integration. They meet with EMS and health care professionals, paramedics from LifeLine (when weather and time permits, the students tour the LifeLine helicopter!), the coroner, injury prevention specialists, and trauma survivors.

Kelli Westry, a teacher from Mitchell High School, worked with Memorial’s Injury Prevention Department to organize an event for 17 high school students. “This program was highly effective in raising awareness about the consequences of distracted driving. These students left feeling a greater sense of responsibility to their friends, families and communities to make better choices.”

As part of the P.A.R.T.Y. Program, students have a chance to talk with people living with a permanent brain or spinal cord injury. The purpose of this part of the program is to have the students understand what it is like to live with a permanent disability – how it affects your daily life, and that of your family. Mitchell High School students met a young man who was riding his bike to school when he was 14 years old and he was hit by a someone who was driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol and left the scene of the accident. After numerous surgeries and years of physical therapy, he is talking to students about the impact the accident had on his life. One Mitchell High School student said, “His story really affected me. He was just riding his bike to school without a care in the world and now he is in a wheel chair for the rest of life. I am happy he is talking with us today because I never thought about what someone could go through just because of one person’s mistakes.”

To learn more about P.A.R.T.Y. and other injury prevention programs at Memorial Hospital: Injury Prevention Programs.

To learn more about the history of the P.A.R.T.Y. Program: http://partyprogram.com/