Pima County Community Health Needs Assessment Priority
Accidents & Injuries
Injuries remain a persistent issue within Pima County and pose a risk to all citizens. Within our definition, injuries can be divided into two distinct categories: intentional injuries and unintentional injuries or "accidents." The causes of injury vary greatly and will require collaboration and coordinated efforts across community partners to address this priority issue.
Unintentional injuries or "accidents" refer to a broad range of injuries including motor vehicle collisions, falls, poisoning, and drownings. Within Pima County, accidents are the third leading cause of death among all age groups and the leading cause of death among children. Accidents in Pima County account for 50.1/100,000 deaths, higher than that of Maricopa County (40.6) and the entirety of Arizona (46.3). Areas within Pima County that experience statistically high rates of accidents include Flowing Wells, Tohono O’odham Nation, and Tucson Foothills.
Intentional injuries, by contrast, refer to injuries resulting from purposeful human action whether directed at oneself or others. This includes interpersonal violence, suicide, and alcohol abuse. Compared to the state, Pima County performs worse in the percentage of adults who binge drink (17.5% compared to 13.4%) which is of major concern since binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol impaired driving than non-binge drinkers. Binge drinking is associated with a variety of negative health and safety outcomes such as traffic accidents, interpersonal problems, financial loss, and family disputes.
During the development of the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment, key informants, focus group participants, and community forum respondents shared the need for prevention resources, education, community-building, and enhancements to the built environment, as well as modifications to local policy to reduce the risks of accidents and injuries in Pima County.
Through a combination of advocacy and data analysis, three distinct areas were identified to address the strategic priority of accidents and injuries in Pima County. Within Healthy Pima, these three areas include: (1) youth violence prevention; (2) road user safety; and (3) fall prevention among older adults.
In response to the community’s request to address accidents and injuries, the Youth Violence Prevention Coalition, Southern Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, and Vulnerable Road User and Motorist Safety Task Force will work to accomplish the following goals from 2018-2021 as part of the Healthy Pima initiative:
- Reduce the severity and frequency of preventable crashes and collisions for all roadway users within Pima County.
- Increase collaboration among community partners to coordinate referral and access to fall prevention interventions and resources in Pima County for older people (60+).
- Improve the awareness of fall risk factors, prevention strategies, and resources among older people (60+), their family, caregivers, and organizations serving older people in Pima County.
- Increase access to violence prevention tools for members of Pima County who work with youth.
- Increase community engagement and collaboration on youth violence prevention efforts in Pima County.
- Create and fine-tune a shared framework for youth violence prevention in Pima County.
Key informants, focus group participants, and community forum respondents from the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment identified accidents and injuries as a public health concern within Pima County. Community members and leaders noted that:
- Motor vehicle accidents can be attributed to a number of causal pathways including poor road maintenance, failure to obey posted maximum speed limits, failure to wear seatbelts, driving while intoxicated, texting while driving, and general carelessness or distracted driving.
- Elders are vulnerable to fall-related injuries in their homes, particularly if homes lack structural necessities that assist with movement.
- Within the context of intentional violence, participants identified both stress (financial, exposure to violence, etc.) and availability of firearms and other weapons as equally correlated to family and domestic violence, assaults, homicide, and self-harm (including suicide).
- To address violence, there is a need to implement early mental health interventions.
For more information on the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment, please contact: HealthyPima@pima.gov