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OHSU, Allstate Partner To Create Safe Playgrounds

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids at OHSU and The Allstate Foundation are partnering to build a new play structure for children at James John Elementary School in north Portland

Oregon Health & Science University and The Allstate Foundation are once again partnering to help prevent childhood injuries by making Portland elementary school playgrounds safe.

Thanks to a $33,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation, The Injury Free Coalition for Kids (IFCK) at OHSU will build a 1,900-square-foot playground at James John Elementary, 7439 N. Charleston Ave., in north Portland. The James John Parent-Teacher Association is putting an additional $18,000 toward the cost of the play structure.

This is the second consecutive year IFCK and The Allstate Foundation have collaborated on building a playground in north Portland. In 2005, they partnered to construct a playground at Beach Elementary, which was funded through The Allstate Foundation’s “Little Hands” playground grant program.

The James John playground is slated to be built at the end of August.

Currently, James John Elementary has a play structure designed for children aged 2 to 5. Parents and teachers at the school have expressed concerns that older children, aged 5 to 12, were not getting adequate opportunities for regular, safe physical activity. They are currently limited to one half-hour recess on a large slab of blacktop.

“This play structure will help the students of James John increase their fitness level as well as enhance their imaginative play,” said John Ferraro, principal at James John. “Up until now, the third- through fifth-grade students have had nothing but blacktop and some playground balls for their recess time. This structure will add a whole new dimension to their outdoor play.”

Falls are the leading cause of injuries requiring hospitalization among Oregon children up to age 14, according to Dr. Craig Warden, M.D., M.P.H., principal investigator for the IFCK at OHSU and associate professor of emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. Playground falls account for about 31 percent of injuries in children aged 5 to 10, OHSU researchers report, and about 17 percent of injuries in 11- to 14-year-olds.

“The Allstate Foundation is proud to partner with the Injury Free Kids Coalition at OHSU in bringing this much-needed play structure to James John Elementary School,” said Michelle Lee, field vice president for Allstate’s Northwest Region. “We are very pleased to be able to provide funding to build another safe playground in Portland.”

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids at OHSU is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that comprises hospital-based, community-oriented programs anchored in research, education and advocacy. The program aims to reduce injuries to children and improve neighborhood safety through education and improvements to community environments with safe places to play. The Portland program is coordinated through the OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine and OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by the Allstate Corporation. Allstate and The Allstate Foundation sponsor community initiatives to promote "safe and vital communities"; "tolerance, inclusion, and diversity"; and "economic empowerment." The Allstate Foundation believes in the financial potential of every individual and in helping America's families achieve their American dream.

Oregon Health & Science University is Oregon’s only health and research university and its only academic health center. As Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest employer in Oregon (excluding government), OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves more than 184,000 patients, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,900 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state. 

As a leader in research, OHSU earns $274 million annually in research funding. The institution serves as a catalyst for the region's bioscience industry and is an incubator of discovery, averaging one new breakthrough or innovation every four days. OHSU disclosed 101 inventions in 2005 alone and has helped start 57 new spinoff companies, most of which are based in Oregon.


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