Outreach 2008

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October at the Block Rock n’ Road event…

October 20th, 2008

On October 20th, 2008 EMIG participated in the Rock ‘n Road OC event at the Block in Orange. Rock ‘n Road OC was an all day teen festival that kicked off with a safety fair of various exhibitors including CHP, the City of Orange Police Department, 102.7 KissFM, Project Path Community Service Programs, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving), Friday Night Live, and others. The day also included talks from various community organizations including the UCI Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention Research and a battle of the bands for high school kids in the area.

EMIG’s role in the event was taking a part in the safety fair, and our outreach was a huge success. We handed out information on teen traffic safety in Orange County provided from the UCI Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention Research. We also had community members try on our Fatal Vision Goggles. These goggles cause visual disturbances similar to those experienced when drunk. We allowed people to try on the goggles and attempt various tasks such as walking a line, catching and throwing a ball, giving someone a high-five and reaching out to touch their fingertip to someone else’s fingertip.

Well over 100 teens and adults tried on the goggles throughout the day and many were shocked how difficult even basic tasks were. After removing the goggles teens and adults were counseled by medical students about their experience and their feelings about it. Being able to show people how different visual perception was between sobriety and immediately putting the goggles on really made people think. Many were shocked at the change and difficulty in balance and coordination. Its a big difference between jumping straight from sobriety to being “drunk” instead of the slow change in perception that occurs when people drink, and then think they’re okay to drive. Participants agreed unanimously that the goggles severely disabled them and they would never want to drive in such a state.

In addition to the hugely successful community outreach, the event allowed EMIG to make some excellent community contacts that will help us continue our outreach efforts in the future. As medical students, we would like to center our outreach around the actual counseling and dissemination of information, and if we can do this better by adding to the events of other organizations in the area then it is a better use of our time and we will be able to reach more people. We are very excited about these new contacts and outreach opportunities and look forward to collaborating with various groups in the near future.

More than Just a Drink…

February 21, 2008

Every other year, in an effort to give back to the community, the Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine organizes a Community Outreach Event to promote safety and awareness. EMIG is comprised of dedicated UCI medical students who are interested in becoming Emergency Medicine physicians. In 2006, with the support of the UCI Medical Center Emergency Department, EMIG coordinated a safety fair at The Block at Orange Mall where 150 bicycle helmets were distributed, along with a wealth of health and safety education to the surrounding community.

On February 21, 2008, UCI EMIG presented “More Than Just a Drink…,” an event emphasizing the prevention of driving under the influence of alcohol because it is a major cause of preventable adolescent deaths. The gravity of the problem hit home this year with news about the recent Fountain Valley High School graduate who was charged with manslaughter and DUI after an accident that killed her best friend on her 18th birthday. In an effort to help prevent such tragedies, EMIG is focusing on educating high school students at Santa Ana Valley High School in Orange County.

The event is a DUI awareness program that is similar to and combines aspects of the “Every 15 Minutes” and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) educational events that take place in some high schools. This program was created by UCI EMIG students with the help of the UCI Medical Center Emergency Department staff, the Santa Ana Fire and Police Departments, and MADD. Other participants included the Orange County Coroner and the staff and students of Santa Ana Valley High School. Through this presentation, EMIG hoped to explore with the high school students the consequences of drunk driving.

The program began with a live scene depicting the immediate aftermath of a high-speed vehicle accident, where the students watched as firefighters and police officers demonstrated what happens at such incidents. Six high school student volunteers were actors playing victims, with make-up to reflect their injuries. Their characters included one fatality, two critically and two moderately injured victims, and an unharmed driver who was placed under arrest. The mock accident was followed by a presentation by Bharath Chakravarthy, MD from the UCI Medical Center Emergency Department. In his talk, he presented similar scenarios and showed photographs of DUI victims that have been treated in the Emergency Department.

The students then dispersed into small groups, led by UCI medical students, to have discussions using the MADD curriculum. They had an opportunity to explore their reactions and thoughts on what they have just witnessed. While these discussions were taking place, the student actors did not join their peers, instead being kept in a separate discussion group. This was to help the rest of the student body realize and grasp the loss of a loved one. After the conclusion of the event, the student actors returned to their classrooms in their make-up and costumes, to emphasize the tragic effects of drinking and driving, as well as the unpredictability of who will become a victim.

EMIG hopes such an event had a profound impact and many take-home messages. By featuring a live program instead of a TV presentation or lecture, we hoped to deeply engage every student so that this experience could create a vivid, emotional memory that will deter them from drinking and driving in the future.