Children on the Navajo Nation are in safer hands following the appointment of Jodee Dennison as director of ThinkFirst Navajo, a chapter of the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation.
Dennison, who holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, joins ThinkFirst Navajo as the program prepares to expand. Dennison brings to the table 21 years of experience in injury prevention with the Indian Health Service and she retired in 2013 as a commander in the United States Public Health Commissioned Corps.
Our ThinkFirst Navajo is the only chapter of the national foundation that operates exclusively on a federally recognized American Indian reservation. On the Navajo Nation alone, a 27,000-square-mile reservation that spans parts of three western states, child injury rates are three times the national average.
“Our kids are at a high risk for traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries from vehicular crashes, violence, drugs and alcohol, recreation and other unintentional trauma,” Dennison said. “The good news is that most of these injuries are preventable through evidence-based education.”
Dennison brings a unique combination of knowledge, skills and experience to ThinkFirst Navajo, as well a commitment to improving the health and well being of young Navajo people.
Last year, out of 200 chapters, ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation named ThinkFirst Navajo “Chapter of the Year” for its efforts in preventing brain, spinal cord and other traumatic injuries through education, research and advocacy. The chapter got its start thanks to Eve’s Fund in late 2005 and since then has educated almost 50,000 Navajo school children and young adults about injury prevention and distributed hundreds of safety helmets.
At the heart of ThinkFirst Navajo’s success is its dedicated VIP speakers, or Voices for Injury Prevention. VIPs — all adult Navajos who have sustained a brain or spinal cord injury—share with students how one poor choice can change a person’s life forever. Through personal testimonies, students learn that a tragic injury could happen to anyone, at any time and in any place.
Please visit our YouTube channel at https://goo.gl/I4nFx8 to hear their personal injury stories and how they have survived against great obstacles.
About Eve’s Fund
Eve’s Fund for Native American Health Initiatives is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes hope and wellness among Native Americans. Dr. Robert M. Crowell founded Eve’s Fund in 2005 in memory of his daughter, Eve Erin Crowell. Since that time, the organization has developed strong community partnerships and created prevention and education programs impacting more than 50,000 Native children and young adults.
ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation was founded 30 years ago by neurosurgeons who recognized that the only cure for brain and spinal cord injuries was prevention education, aimed at students of all ages.
To schedule a free injury prevention presentation at a school, youth group, conference or chapter house on or near the Navajo Nation, please contact Jodee Dennison, at (800) 646-2952 or send a fax to (505) 214-5912.