ThinkFirst Illinois Use Your Mind. Protect Your Body. Award-Winning, Evidence-Based Injury Prevention Programs
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ThinkFirst Illinois Conference
July 10, 2013 4:47 PM

In June, Illinois chapters from ThinkFirst traveled to Starved Rock, IL for an exciting two-day conference to discuss issues related to brain and spinal cord injuries.  A wealth of information was provided thanks to presentations varying in topics from alcohol and the adolescent brain to violence and injury prevention.

The state-wide conference gives chapters an opportunity to communicate face-to-face, allowing stimulating discussions regarding personal experiences administering ThinkFirst programs throughout the state.  Current issues with brain and spinal cord injuries were discussed including: sports culture and its role in rising concussion rates, ways to reduce brain injury due to recreational sports and activities, helmet usage, strategies to effectively reach teenagers, distracted driving and its role in car crashes leading to injury, the rising role of violence as a cause of injury, and ways to update ThinkFirst programs.    

We welcomed the new additions to our ThinkFirst Illinois family: our new chapter in Quincy, IL, directed by Dr. Margie Williams; and our new Voice for Injury Prevention (VIP) speaker for the Peoria chapter, Jamie Duhs-McBride.  Overall, the state-wide conference was a great success with thought-provoking discussions and informative presentations that will continue to help us spread our message of injury prevention.

Patty Strutz, 
Graduate Education Intern
SIU School of Medicine 

Mary Kay Reed wins Kuska Lifetime Achievement Award
December 12, 2012 11:55 AM

At the Illinois State Child Passenger Safety Conference, November 15, Mary Kay Reed was honored as the recipient of the Kuska Lifetime Achievement Award. The Kuska Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest individual Child Passenger Safety Award in Illinois and is named in honor of Thelma Kuska, who has donated thousands of volunteer hours to child passenger safety in Illinois.

Mary Kay Reed was chosen for the award because she used her career to protect children and prevent injury, particularly focusing on traffic safety issue. In the midst of her injury prevention efforts with ThinkFirst, Mary Kay became aware of the need to protect children in vehicles and in 1999, she obtained her technician certification; soon after, she become an instructor.

Over her years with ThinkFirst, Mary Kay educated tens of thousands of teens and educators on the importance of making good choices to keep them safe in a motor vehicle and life in general. Because of Mary Kay’s work with numerous child passenger safety classes and events in the past 12 years, thousands of Illinois children have been safe in vehicles.