One Helmet at a Time: Empowering Communities through Pop-up Safety Town
June 3, 2023
By Tina Chen
The Concussion Center is proud to support Dr. Andy Hashikawa’s Pop-up Safety Town initiative, providing age-focused injury prevention resources to Michigan’s underserved communities.
Pop-Up Safety Town, a unique program dedicated to pediatric injury prevention education supported by AAA and the Auto Club Group Foundation, caters to young children and their families. In the 2022-2023 school year, Dr. Hashikawa led a multitude of successful events across the state. Locations included the Marygrove Conservancy in the Detroit Public School Community District, Cummings Head Start Center in Flint, Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD), Jackson, Ypsilanti, Addison, and Whitmore Lake. Our shared mission saw us fit over 600 helmets, a step towards our goal of extending our reach to more underserved communities.
Dr. Hashikawa’s dedication to this cause is evident. He is already actively liaising with other districts, with a special focus on rural and tribal communities in dire need of these resources. In addition, we are working with student organizations, such as Medical Arabic at the University of Michigan, in organizing more events in Hamtramck, a region rich with a multicultural population with immigrant backgrounds.
As we look to the future, Dr. Hashikawa aspires to broaden our approach to include children aged five and older, an idea informed by valuable feedback from administrators and families alike. To connect with Head Start centers and schools beyond our driving radius, including reaching the Native American Tribal Head Start programs in Michigan, a “Safety Curriculum in a Box” program will be launched next year. This innovative concept involves creating four comprehensive lesson plans for teachers, complete with a dedicated website for orientation, handouts for parents, and a box filled with props to enrich each lesson. A series of educational videos have been developed covering crucial topics like helmet safety, pedestrian safety, medication safety, and dog bite prevention. Additional demonstration videos are planned for the coming year to enhance the core curriculum.
Andrew Hashikawa, MD, Clinical Professor, Emergency Medicine
“This comprehensive approach sets us apart from other organizations in the field, making the U-M Concussion Center a leader in not only understanding concussions but also actively working towards preventing them.”
As we reflect on the accomplishments in the past year, we remain cognizant that our mission to maximize societal impact is far from over. With every helmet fitted, every lesson given, and every community reached, we’ve seen the transformative power of early education in the sphere of injury prevention. “To ensure children have access, we offer free helmets and educate families on proper helmet-fitting techniques,” said Dr. Hashikawa, “By reaching out to preschool children and elementary students, our aim is to instill good safety habits from an early age, empowering families with knowledge that can help prevent head injuries. This comprehensive approach sets us apart from other organizations in the field, making the U-M Concussion Center a leader in not only understanding concussions but also actively working towards preventing them.”