The overall purpose of the Emory Safety Alliance (ESA) is to create and sustain a group that embodies the idea of a “culture of safety” in alignment with Emory University’s Strategic Plan. In addition to maintaining the Safe Communities America designation, the ESA will serve as a means for documenting data sources, programming, and initiatives related to safety promotion and injury reduction to ensure centralized collaboration. The ESA also will develop criteria for evaluating the efficiency of current programs as well as work to identify current gaps in data collection and programming. The ESA also will serve as the lead in assessing the feasibility of developing an injury-surveillance system. If developed, the ESA will operate as the systems designer and will be responsible for adding to and maintaining the system over time.
Emory University has a long-standing history of endorsing injury prevention and safety awareness on campus. Multiple agencies—as well as faculty-, staff-, and student-led organizations—exist at Emory to promote awareness of topics related to injury and safety prevention. Until recently, however, no centralized coalition existed on campus to unite these associations and eliminate redundancies in research and data collection. As a result, the ESA was developed to address these issues.
The Emory Center for Injury Control (ECIC) was selected as the primary party responsible for applying for the Safe Communities America designation. Accordingly, the center set out to identify all the programs and/or departments on campus that work in the area of violence and injury prevention, with the goal of creating a coordinated effort surrounding safety promotion and injury reduction. After receiving endorsement from the university president's Strategic Planning office, ECIC set out to make contact with each of the violence and injury-related programs and/or departments on campus. Individual presentations were made to each of the organizations explaining what Safe Communities is and how the designation would benefit the university, and then inviting them to join the ESA. After all organizations had been contacted, an ESA kickoff meeting was held.
At this initial meeting, the role of the ESA was explained further, representation from each organization was established, and leadership roles were assigned. Future events were also planned to facilitate discussion regarding the six indicators listed in the Safe Communities America application. The ESA also decided to meet each semester to discuss current initiatives. Additionally, the ESA serves as the advising group for the Emory University Senate's Safety and Security subcommittee, which will ensure group sustainability and future dedication to campus injury-prevention efforts. The ESA officially has been in operation since May 2011; it began advising the University Senate in September 2011. In the Spring of 2012, ESA Chair Dr. Debra Houry became the president-elect of the University Senate, which will greatly assist the ESA in its future endeavors.