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Trauma Awareness MonthMay is National Trauma Awareness Month, and there are many ways that the UAB Department of Surgery and Division of Acute Care Surgery are recognizing the month in 2020. Specifically, the department is focusing on sharing information about fall risks, Stop the Bleed programs and distractions that can lead to trauma.

According to the American Trauma Society (ATS), National Trauma Awareness Month is an opportunity to reflect on how to keep ourselves, our families, our work force and our communities safer by recognizing these distractions and helping to prevent injuries and deaths. It is a chance to globally evaluate how individuals are injured and work in the public health model to make impactful and meaningful changes.

Here are six ways that you can get involved in supporting National Trauma Awareness Month.

1. Protect yourself and loved ones from falls

Protecting loved ones from falling is especially important during a time when many are staying home more than they ever have. There are several ways that the CDC recommends reducing fall risk for elderly patients and patients of all ages, such as: speak up, keep moving, have eyes and feet check and make the home safe.

2. Stop the Bleed

In 2018, the Alabama House of Representative put forth a resolution to recognize National Stop the Bleed Day. The resolution encourages all Alabama citizens, particularly education administrators and faculty, to participate in the Stop the Bleed initiative and learn more about the importance of bleeding control measures.

Someone who is severely bleeding can bleed to death in as little as five minutes. Bleeding control- keeping the blood inside the body- is the purpose of STOP THE BLEED® training. UAB's Division of Acute Care Surgery has a long history of improving trauma response through initiatives like Stop the Bleed and has also provided STOP THE BLEED® training to local schools.

If you are interested in learning more about or participating in courses, visit: https://www.stopthebleed.org

3. Avoid Distractions

The official American Trauma Society (ATS) theme of National Trauma Awareness month is “Distracted to Death: Pay Attention or Pay the Price.” According to the ATS, we are at the risk to be distracted my much more than just our cell phones. Typically, we think of multitasking as a positive attribute, even listing it on resumes and sharing it as a strength in job interviews. Unfortunately, the ATS states the multitasking brain can actually lead to increased risks of distractions.

According to the ATS, “Distractions pose a threat when someone forgets a child in the car, leaves the gate left open to a pool area, takes their eyes off the child in the bathtub, misses the crosswalk and signal as a pedestrian, or leaves their bag on a hot stovetop.”

Especially during a season when it seems we have more opportunities than ever to be distracted- receiving COVID-19 updates while driving, adjusting our face masks while walking and even anxiety about having to leave our homes can leave us a bit out of focus. So, stay aware and stay focused!

4. Get Inspired

Trauma Awareness Month is also an opportunity to celebrate trauma survivors on National Trauma Survivors Day (May 20). Check out these UAB News stories about trauma survivors:


If you are looking to share your own trauma survivor story, visit the Trauma Survivors Network, which is celebrating National Trauma Survivors day by having trauma survivors share their photos, with special instructions for how to participate. Follow along with the hashtag #TraumaSurvivorsDay and #NTSD.

5. Learn More About the Division of Acute Care Surgery

The Division of Acute Care Surgery, together with the regional and statewide EMS programs, provides a comprehensive multidisciplinary program of care for severely injured multisystem trauma or burn victims. UAB Hospital is the only Level I Trauma Center verified by the American College of Surgeons in the state of Alabama, and is a major treatment center in the southeastern U.S. for patients suffering traumatic injury.

Recently, Director of Acute Care Surgery Jeffrey Kerby, M.D., Ph.D., was named the first state of Alabama trauma consultant by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

6. Donate Blood

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation faced a severe blood shortage. Help prevent any further shortages by donating blood after taking a few moments to review the infographic on the left.

Blood products are used during surgery, transplantation, trauma care, difficult pregnancies and cancer treatment. It is not unheard-of for a single patient to require as many as 100 units. Donors can give blood up to six times a year, every eight weeks. The process takes about 45 minutes; the actual blood collection usually takes less than 20 minutes and centers are taking extra measures to promote social distancing and a clean space to donate.

UAB partners with the Red Cross to host a blood donation center at the hospital. UAB also hosts multiple blood drives across campus. The Blood Donation Center is located on the second floor of UAB Hospital's North Pavilion room 2390, 1802 6th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233. Schedule a blood donation appointment here.