There will soon be a changing of the guard at Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center (IPC) as the longtime Director Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH is transitioning into an exciting new role at Connecticut Children’s. For those of us who work with the IPC, this brings mixed emotions: pride in what we have accomplished together, optimism for the next chapter in Garry’s career, but also sadness to know that our longtime leader is moving on.
After his accomplished career in injury prevention, Garry is taking on a new leadership role as co-director of the Office of Advanced Practice Providers at Connecticut Children’s. We are excited to see where this work takes him. Since we both have worked alongside him for many years, we wanted to reflect on the extraordinary mentorship we received from Garry, who is widely recognized as a national leader in the injury prevention field.
A Pioneer in Injury Prevention
What Garry accomplished in his more than 25-year career in injury prevention to raise awareness among parents, caregivers, state agencies, lawmakers and others is nothing short of extraordinary.
After spending the early part of his career caring for patients in a local emergency room, Garry realized that far too many people came in for treatment for what were then referred to as “accidents.” He saw things differently and was among the pioneers in the field who reframed the conversation in a way to help us realize that most injuries are predictable and preventable.
In addition to educating people about the preventable nature of injuries, Garry was instrumental in challenging our field to move beyond solely providing trauma care to embracing the opportunity to pay greater focus on primary prevention strategies.
Through his vision and dedication, he launched what is now known as Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center back in 1990. It started as a part-time operation and has since grown to include a full-time team of researchers and other safety experts who focus on research, community outreach, education and training, and policy advocacy. Every three years when the American College of Surgeons verifies Connecticut Children’s as a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, Garry and the IPC are always listed as a “strength” of the trauma program.
Garry’s work in advocacy and public health policy made Connecticut a safer place for all of us to live. His dedication in that area is a leading reason why Connecticut is now recognized as one of the safest states in the country. He never shied away from a tough issue, and helped strengthen laws regarding the use of seat belts and bicycle helmets. He also was a leading voice behind the passage of Connecticut’s graduated driver licensing law for teenagers, which is credited with significantly reducing injuries and deaths. He has also been a strong advocate for firearm safety.
A Mentor to Countless Students
Not only has Garry sought to improve health outcomes for children by reducing injuries through research, community programs, and policy advocacy – Garry has sought to inspire and instill his passion into future generations of injury prevention clinicians and scientists.
Over the years, Garry has mentored dozens of students on injury prevention projects, including high school students, undergraduates, medical students, nursing students, and pediatric residents. Most recently, Garry was instrumental in developing the Hayley Petit Injury & Violence Prevention Fellowship, in which female college students shadow experts at the IPC, learn about injury prevention, and see how important this topic is in pediatric healthcare.
Garry has also enjoyed a remarkable career educating future health professionals. He is a member of the faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, where he teaches a course in injury prevention. He holds the rank of associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, which is a senior rank of academia usually reserved for those with a doctoral degree.
We can best describe Garry as thoughtful, considerate, inclusive and humble. Despite being a driving force behind countless IPC projects, he never hesitates to give credit to others for the success of these projects. He also goes out of his way to advance the careers of others. We are pleased to say that Garry is not only a trusted colleague, but also a friend. Through all of his tireless work and fierce advocacy, Garry is above all else a warm human being. He is someone whose empathy is felt by others and clearly noticeable in his work and personal interactions.
You can count us among those who are inspired by Garry’s hard work and dedication. He set a high bar for the next director of the IPC. Garry has supported our goals and helped us, as well as many colleagues at Connecticut Children’s and beyond, to keep injury prevention at the forefront of conversations and a public policy priority. Garry is and will always be a true injury prevention hero.
Read additional blogs on injury prevention here.
Brendan T. Campbell, MD, MPH is the medical director of the pediatric trauma program at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and is a research scientist at Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center, which is a program of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health. Dr. Campbell is also a member of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.
Steven C. Rogers, MD is an attending physician and director of mental health services for Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department. Dr. Rogers is also a research scientist for Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center, which is a program of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health.
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Categories: Injury Prevention