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Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(12):2575-2576

Groups Push for ‘Getting to School Safely’ Program

In an effort to increase the safety of students traveling to and from school, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in cooperation with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and other partner organizations, is developing the “Getting to School Safely” program. As part of the program, resources will be provided to persons involved in student travel, including parents, teachers and crossing guards. School transportation is important to the NRHA because, “vehicle safety is a health care issue that significantly affects rural communities,” said NRHA President Charlotte Hardt. “Public awareness is the first step in changing habits and making rural roadways safer. If each of us takes some action, large or small, we can make an impact and make sure that all children in rural areas get to school—and back home—safely.” A community action kit that includes fact sheets, examples of successful programs and safety tips is available from the NHTSA. To order the kit, fax your name and mailing address to NHTSA at 202-366-7721, Attn: Arlene. For more information, visit the NHTSA's Web site at

Surgeon General's Report Urges Promotion of Breast-Feeding

Calling breast-feeding rates among American women alarmingly low, Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., has asked professional health care organizations to promote breast-feeding in his “Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding.” According to the surgeon general, only 29 percent of mothers breast-feed at six months' postpartum. Rates are even lower among black women (19 percent). States Dr. Satcher: “Each of us, whether we play a role at the federal, state, local or private level, must turn these recommendations into programs best suited for our own communities. Together we can shape a future in which mothers can feel comfortable and free to breast-feed their children without societal hindrances.” Recognition of the benefits of breast-feeding has led to the adoption of breast-feeding policies by many health and professional organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Dr. Satcher's report is available online at

AHRQ Awards Grants Aimed at Improving Patient Safety

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ; formerly called the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) has announced that it will award $2 million to pay for six new research projects that will study ways to improve patient safety. The funds will come from the fiscal year 2000 budget; more money is expected to be granted in fiscal year 2001. The newly funded grants are “Characterizing Medical Error: A Primary Care Study” at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va.; “TIPI Systems to Reduce Errors in Emergency Cardiac Care,” New England Medical Center, Boston; “Brief Risky High Benefit Procedures: Best Practice Model,” University of Maryland, Baltimore; “Developing Best Practices for Patient Safety,” Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; “Improving Safety by Computerizing Outpatient Prescribing,” Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; and “Teamwork and Error in Neonatal Intensive Care,” University of Texas Medical School, Houston. For more information on AHRQ's patient safety research programs, go to

Watchdog Group Warns of Dangerous Toys

With the toy-giving season ahead, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is warning consumers about scooters, a popular toy that hit the U.S. market last year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 26,000 injuries and two deaths have occurred this year. PIRG urges scooter users to wear helmets, knee and elbow pads, and ride scooters only on smooth surfaces away from traffic. In addition, PIRG is warning of a number of other products on store shelves that pose a danger to children. According to the group's 15th annual survey, toy-related injuries were responsible for 152,600 visits made by children to emergency departments in 1999. The group also warns consumers about toys that pose toxic hazards and urges manufacturers to voluntarily disclose whether toys contain phthalates or polyvinyl chloride. The group is focusing on hazardous toys in four categories: toys that present a choking hazard because of small parts; balloons; toxic toys; and scooters.

AAFP Sets Deadlines for Awards, Proposals in 2001

The AAFP has set deadlines for various awards and proposals in 2001. For each listing below, call the contact person at 800-274-2237 and the extension number provided, or send an e-mail.

  • Application deadline for the Parke-Davis Teacher Development Awards, which recognize excellence in part-time teaching, is January 15. For information and an application form, contact Susie Morantz at ext. 4470 or

  • AAFP's Public Health Award honors members who have made extraordinary contributions to public health. Nominations must be submitted by March 1. For more information and application forms, contact Nancy Crossfield at ext. 5542 or

  • Nominations for the Mead Johnson Awards for Graduate Education are due March 2. The awards recognize second-year residents demonstrating leadership, community involvement and exemplary patient care. Applications may be obtained by contacting Penny Fletcher at ext. 6812 or

  • The proposal deadline is March 15 for workshops, seminars, lectures, papers, poster displays and special interest discussions at the 2001 Conference on Patient Education Nov. 15 to 18 in Seattle. For more information, contact Melody Goller at ext. 3134 or

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