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June 29, 2009

CARES Mobile Safety Center Focus of New Ad Campaign

Ads Urge Baltimore City Residents to Include Safety Van at Community Events

The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in partnership with CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield and the Baltimore City Fire Department, today launched a city-wide advertising campaign to raise awareness of the Johns Hopkins Children ARE Safe (CARES) Mobile Safety Center. Radio and billboard ads will spread the message that the safety center is available to visit community and neighborhood events to provide safety education and low-cost safety products. The ad campaign is scheduled to run for 4 weeks and is the first time the groups have used radio and billboards to increase awareness of the mobile safety center. Because injuries disproportionally affect low-income families, the ads will be concentrated in neighborhoods with low-income and high minority composition.

“Making Baltimore City residents aware of the resources available to prevent injuries is critical,” said Andrea C. Gielen, PhD, MS, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy and professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health, Behavior and Society. “While injuries are the number one cause of death in children in the U.S., we know many of them could be prevented by access to injury prevention education and safety products. The generous grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, which supports our mobile safety center and these outreach activities, allows us to inform a key target audience that resources to prevent injuries exist in their community.”

The safety center is a 40-foot vehicle designed as a house on wheels. Health educators from the Bloomberg School and the Baltimore City Fire Department use interactive exhibits in each of the rooms to teach parents and children how to prevent burns, falls, strangulation, poisoning and other unintended injuries in their homes and neighborhoods The vehicle is also equipped with safety products, including car safety seats, bicycle helmets, safety gates and cabinet locks, which are offered for sale at below-retail costs. A study published earlier this year by Gielen and her colleagues at the Injury Center found that 96 percent of visitors to the mobile van reported learning something new as a result of their visit, and 98 percent reported they would recommend the mobile safety center services to a friend or family member.

“About 28 million Americans visit the ER due to unintentional injury each year,” said Dr. Jon P. Shematek, CareFirst Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “The best way we can limit this number in Baltimore City is to increase safety awareness. The CARES mobile safety center is a great community resource for learning new safety skills and reinforcing safe behaviors that we all sometimes forget to practice.”

Since receiving funding from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in January 2008, approximately 4,500 individuals in Baltimore have visited the safety center. Prior to the ad campaign, most event organizers learned of the safety center’s availability through word of mouth and print brochures distributed through other community organizations. CareFirst is funding the program through its CareFirst Commitment initiative, part of an ongoing effort to improve health care quality, safety, affordability and access throughout Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area. 

During the four-week advertising campaign, four billboard and ten bus shelter ads will be displayed throughout the city. The public service announcement will be aired 30 times a day on Heaven 600 AM (WCAO), a gospel radio station in Baltimore. The ads are targeted towards community leaders and families in Baltimore and have a tagline of "Bring safety to your community event.” People are directed to the safety center’s Website, www.HopkinsCARES.org, and phone number, 410-955-4121, for more information. Clear Channel Outdoor (billboard), Clear Channel Radio (PSA), and CBS Outdoor (bus shelter) designed and produced the advertisements.

Researchers will evaluate the campaign’s success by measuring hits to the website and calls to the safety center. A complete listing of the ad locations and PSA schedule follows.

Locations for Clear Channel Posters:

Park Heights Ave & Rogers Ave
North Ave & Howard Ave.
Monroe St. & Ohio Ave.
Edison Hwy & Madison St.

Locations for CBS Outdoor Bus Shelter Ads:

Eutaw St. & Preston St.
Aisquith St. & North Ave.
Eastern Ave. at Bayview Hospital
North Ave. & Howard St.
Reisterstown Rd. & Coldspring Rd.
Saratoga St. & 240 Howard St.
Calvert St. & Centre St.
Martin Luther King Blvd & Baltimore St.
Charles St. & 32nd St.
Monument St. & Chester St.

Schedule for Radio PSA - WCAO 600 AM (Heaven 600- Gospel Station):

M-F 5am-10am- 6 commercials
M-F 10am-3pm- 6 commercials
M-F 3pm-7pm- 6 commercials
M-F 7pm- midnight- 6 commercials
Sat & Sun 6am-7pm- 6 commercials

Public Affairs media contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.

Additional contact: Alicia Samuels, MPH, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy 410-614-5555 or 914-720-4635