THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is bringing an already successful injury prevention program to new heights. The P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) Program encourages youth to make safer choices when it comes to high risk behaviors.
During a day of interactive learning including videos, presentations and hands-on activity, teenagers are exposed to the harsh realities of preventable traumas. Their day follows the painful journey of a trauma patient: from pre-hospital care through to rehabilitation or death.
“Each young person is impacted in a different way, but each gains new insight on the importance of making smart decisions,” says Shelley Chisholm, Regional Injury Prevention Coordinator at the Health Sciences Centre. Last year, about 180 students attended the P.A.R.T.Y. Program at the Health Sciences Centre. That’s 10% of grade 11 students in our community. “We want to reach more teenagers in our community, where trauma rates are higher than average,” Chisholm says.
This year, Chisholm is bringing the P.A.R.T.Y. Program to the schools. “We will have the opportunity to reach 100% of grade 11 students with this approach,” she notes.
The new format was tested last spring at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute. 140 students attended the P.A.R.T.Y. Program in a single day. Instead of taking a field trip to the Health Sciences Centre, students participated at the school. Teacher Ryan McDonnell helped organize the trial session. “The content was effective, the students highly engaged,” he notes. “The lack of logistical arrangements associated with field trips makes this format much preferred.”
The PARTY Program is an evidence based international program that includes:
• Introduction to the P.A.R.T.Y. Program and Injury Prevention
• Presentation on brain and spinal cord anatomy and injuries
• An EMS and Police presentation with trauma scenario
• A tour of the Emergency Department Trauma Room and the Morgue
• Presentation on substance use and abuse
• A Rehabilitation presentation
• An Injury Survivor shares their story
• Class interactive session discussing risk taking behaviours and risk reduction alternatives.
The P.A.R.T.Y. program has had grade 11 participants from the Thunder Bay District Catholic School Board, the Lakehead Public School Board and Denis Franklin Cromarty. This fall, the P.A.R.T.Y. Program will be delivered to grade 11 students at the Lakehead Public High Schools. For more information on the P.A.R.T.Y. Program, please visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/THEPARTYPROGRAM.