Press Room

ASTHO and Safe States Alliance Respond to Rising Injury Deaths Among Children and Adolescents

ARLINGTON, VA (June 1, 2018)—Today, CDC released a report showing that injuries, suicides, and homicides are leading to more deaths among children and young adults in the United States.

“After several years of progress in reducing injury deaths among 10 to 19 year-olds in the United States, this alarming upturn in deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and drug overdoses demonstrates that significant challenges remain,” says John Wiesman, president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and secretary of health at the Washington State Department of Health. “Preventing injuries and violence is a top priority for our nation’s health departments. ASTHO and the Safe States Alliance are committed to strengthening the capacity of state and territorial health departments to effectively advance these efforts.”

While summer is the time of year when injuries among children dramatically increase, health departments are working year-round to create safe and healthy communities. “We urge Congress to invest in effective prevention programming. Expanding the CDC’s Core State Violence and Injury Program, for example, would provide necessary resources to health departments to ensure the safety and protection of all people, especially our youngest citizens,” says Rich Hamburg, executive director of the Safe States Alliance.

“As public health leaders, we find the 56 percent increase in suicides between 2007 and 2016 to be wholly unacceptable,” adds Wiesman. “To address this serious issue and save lives, we need to consider the role of mental and behavioral health and how to better integrate these principles within the governmental public health and healthcare systems. We must intensify our efforts to prevent these tragic deaths and direct greater investments toward childhood injury and suicide prevention programs.”

In light of these findings, continued assessment, vigilance, and resources are needed to put proven prevention strategies into practice to save lives and prevent lifelong disability for America’s children.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely-associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.

The Safe States Alliance is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and professional association whose mission is to strengthen the practice of injury and violence prevention. Founded in 1993, the Safe States Alliance is the only national non-profit organization comprised of public health injury prevention professionals representing all states and territories in the United States.