UC Irvine SOM EMIG students stress the deadly consequences of drinking to Santa Ana seniors
On Thursday, May 13, 2010, UC Irvine EMIG held our local community outreach event “Not Just Another Drink” at Santa Ana Valley High School. “Not Just Another Drink,” is a medical student run DUI awareness program that combines aspects of well founded educational programs including “Every 15 Minutes” and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) DUI awareness campaigns. This program was created in 2008 by UCI EMIG Medical Students with the help of the UCI Medical Center Emergency Departmental staff, and the Santa Ana Fire and Police Departments. Together, UCI and its affiliates have worked hard to educate over 900 High School seniors in the Santa Ana and Orange county community in just two short years.
This year, UCI EMIG presented “Not Just Another Drink” in front of approximately 400 high school students one week prior to their High School Prom. Our intention was to deliver a message that we hoped would ring loud and clear on prom night, especially when students considered drinking and driving, or getting into the car of a friend who’d been drinking.
The program began with a live scene depicting the immediate aftermath of a high-speed motor vehicle collision, and the students watched as paramedics, firefighters and police officers approached the scene as if it were a real critical trauma incident. The scene was narrated by the Fire Department Captain, which helped the students better understand what they were observing. The six high school students who volunteered to play mock victims wore stage make-up to reflect their extensive, and for some, life threatening injuries. The mock victims included one fatality, two critically and two moderately injured victims, and an unharmed drunk driver. The on looking high school seniors watched silently as the FD performed a vehicle extrication; at the same time the PD conducted a live field sobriety test on the driver, resulting in his arrest for DUI. The mock accident was immediately followed by a presentation by Bharath Chakravarthy, MD from the UCI Medical Center Emergency Department. In his talk, he spoke of the dangers of drinking and driving, presented real-life scenarios and photographs of DUI victims that had been treated in the Emergency Department.
The students then broke-out into small discussion groups, led by UCI medical students, to discuss their thoughts using the MADD curriculum. At this time, the students had an opportunity to explore their feelings and share their reactions on what they had just witnessed. Additionally, a number of police officers participated in the small group sessions and shared their experiences with the tragedies of drunk driving.
We received an extraordinarily positive response from both the students and staff at Santa Ana Valley High School. We were asked to return in 2011 with the intention of making “Not Just Another Drink” an annual event. Similarly, “Not just another drink” grabbed the community’s attention as it was described in a feature article and short video on the UC Irvine main campus website as “an authentic recreation of a drunk driving accident.”
We sincerely hope our event had a profound and long lasting impact. By featuring a live program instead of a TV presentation or lecture, we aspired to engage each student so that this experience would create a vivid, emotional memory that will deter them from drinking and driving in the future.
We would like to thank all UCI EMIG members who worked so hard to make this project possible. Additionally, a special thanks goes out to UC Irvine Department of Emergency Medicine, CAL/ACEP, and CAL/AAEM, all whose constant generosity makes all of our UCI EMIG projects possible.