Starting a ThinkFirst International Chapter

The ThinkFirst International Injury Prevention Foundation (ThinkFirst Foundation) has chapters throughout the United States and across the globe, providing ThinkFirst educational programs to schools and community groups. ThinkFirst chapters are based in medical centers, medical schools, physician practices, or other health organizations, such as Brain or Spinal Cord Injury Associations. Each chapter is required to have a chapter director and a medical director who is a licensed physician. The medical director is responsible for advocating for injury prevention education and the support of a ThinkFirst Chapter. It is also the medical director's role to promote ThinkFirst and injury prevention in general to the community.

The chapter director performs the actual day-to-day operation of the chapter and administration of the programs. The director is usually a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, health educator, medical auxiliary member, or other employee designated as the chapter director. Depending on the program's ambitions, this can be a part-time coordinator position with a limited number of schools visited each year, or a full-time position responsible for conducting many school presentations throughout a community, county or region. The cost of operating a chapter also varies, depending on staffing needs. Major expenses include the salary of the staff coordinator (chapter director), VIP speaker fees, and initial equipment investment (e.g., spine and skull models). It is helpful if the sponsoring medical center provides for some or all of the chapter director's salary, as well as office space, computer, office expenses and auto travel. Otherwise, funding will need to be secured through other means, such as grants, donations or fundraising events.

The following steps are suggested to establish a chapter:

  1. Learn about chapters that may already be underway locally by going to the Chapter Directory on our website. Determine the travel distance and number of schools in a region when considering the need for additional chapters-- a network of chapters will reach more of the population and have a greater impact. Be realistic as to travel distance your institution will approve -- a maximum of an hour drive to schools may be a good measure, though this varies with each institution.
  2. If no local chapter is available, try to enlist local support for establishment of a chapter. The ThinkFirst Foundation can answer questions on necessary actions to initiate a chapter.
  3. Identify the people serving as the chapter director and medical director.
  4. Submit a chapter application (available on our website, or contact us for a Word version), resume, and application fee to the ThinkFirst Foundation; see application for details. Fee includes initial membership, training and materials.
  5. Once your application is approved, training may be scheduled with the ThinkFirst Foundation, either by interactive online webinar, or at a training location in the US. The chapter's contact person will receive instruction and assistance with chapter development and program implementation and evaluation. A qualified trainer will guide the chapter in meeting all requirements.
  6. The following program materials will be provided to the chapter once we have received your signed training completion documentation.
  • ThinkFirst For Kids "Street Smart" presentation video, script
  • ThinkFirst For Youth curriculum for grades 4-5 and for 6-8
  • ThinkFirst For Teen and Youth video, Power Point presentation and script
  • ThinkFirst Director Guide Book, online
  • VIP Speaker Training Program DVD
  • ThinkFirst About Concussion Power Point presentation and video clip
  • ThinkFirst to Prevent Falls Power Point presentation and handouts
Materials included may change at discretion of the National Office
Additional products are available for purchase through the ThinkFirst website. To start a chapter or obtain further information about ThinkFirst products, please contact the ThinkFirst Foundation.