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Meharry-State Farm Alliance Receives A Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award

Sunday, October 01, 2006 | 07:00pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Meharry-State Farm Alliance has been honored by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) with the Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award for significant accomplishes in the field of highway safety. The award was presented at September 19 at the GHSA Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon. Miss America 2006, Jennifer Berry, assisted in the presentation.

The Meharry-State Farm Alliance works to bridge the gap in knowledge about racial and ethnic differences in factors influencing safety belt use. The Alliance was established in 2002 to reduce the large number of disparities in safety belt use. Four strategic objectives were implemented including public policy, national leadership, education and research.

Irwin Goldzweig, Program Director of the Alliance and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, and Colette Pelton, Community Alliance Specialist, State Farm Insurance, were honored at the annual GHSA Conference in Oklahoma City.

During his acceptance speech Irwin Goldzweig stated, “Public policy is number one and coalitions to support public policy will continue efforts in all areas.”

Miss America Jennifer Berry was guest speaker for the awards luncheon. Miss Berry’s platform issue is Building Intolerance to Drunk Driving and Underage Drinking. As a teenager, Miss Berry lost a girlfriend in an underage drunk driving crash. She is using her title to bring attention to underage drinking and seat belt use.

The 2006 Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Awards were given to organizations, agencies or individuals with significant accomplishments in the field of highway safety during the 2005 calendar year. The Peter K. O’Rourke Award is named for Peter K. O’Rourke (1943-1996), past GHSA chair and highway safety leader. He began his career as a California Highway Patrolman, where he witnessed the devastating consequences of vehicle crashes first hand. He served to make highways safer through many roles. He was director of the California Office of Traffic Safety under two governors and was instrumental in the passage of several important pieces of safety legislation. The national respect gained from his commitment to highway safety lead O’Rourke to be elected chair of GHSA by his peers. After leaving state government, he served as vice president of The Century Council, where he worked on prevention of underage drinking and drunk driving.

GHSA is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that represents the highway safety programs of states and territories on the “human behavioral aspects” of highway safety. Areas of focus include: occupant protection, impaired driving and speed enforcement, as well as motorcycle, school bus, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and traffic records. GHSA’s mission is to provide leadership in the development of national policy to ensure effective highway safety programs. The Association provides a collective voice for the states in working with Congress and the federal agencies to address their safety challenges.
“The Meharry-State Farm Alliance has strengthened community infrastructure by making safety belt use a community-wide priority,” stated Kendell Poole, Director of Tennessee’s Governor’s Highway Safety Office. As a member of GHSA, Mr. Poole nominated the Meharry-State Farm Alliance for this award. Meharry Medical College receives grant funding from the GHSO to address lifesaving issues.

Pictured Right to Left: Troy Costales, Governor’s Highway Safety Association, Colette Pelton, State Farm Insurance,
Irwin Goldzweig, Meharry Medical College, Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry,
Kendell Poole, Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office

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