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History of the ATS

In 1966, the National Academy of Sciences published a report titled “Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society” The report summarized monumental deficiencies at various levels of emergency care, resulting in unnecessary death and disability.  The report stressed the importance of increased education and training of emergency providers, research on the causes and treatment of traumatic injuries, and public and governmental support to address this problem.  It also called for the creation of a professional organization to educate the public about trauma and injury prevention and the need for trauma and emergency systems, to ensure optimal care of traumatic injuries.  The American Trauma Society was created to meet this need.

 

Since our founding in 1968, the ATS has led the fight for nationwide quality trauma care.  Our foundational goals remain the same today: to prevent injury and trauma; and when trauma does occur, to ensure that the injured victim is cared for by the ‘right people, in the right place, at the right time.’ This means that the nation must have trauma systems to prevent injury and properly manage the care of the trauma victim.

 

Over the past 45 years, the ATS has worked at all levels of government, local to federal, to obtain legislative support of trauma systems. The ATS was one of the original advocates for the 1973 EMS Act, which established the first Federal program that built EMS/Trauma systems.  In 1984-1985, the ATS worked with Congress to develop a new program to support trauma centers and systems, resulting in the passage of the 1990 Trauma Systems Development Act.  Today ATS continues to ensure renewal of this Act along with other important policies and legislation that will have a positive impact on trauma care throughout the U.S.

 

The ATS has established close working relationships with our federal partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as well as strong working relationships with other industry-related professional organizations. Together we work to develop resources to maintain and enhance trauma systems and for the establishment and enhancement of injury prevention programs.  For example, the ATS and its chapters worked to promote the establishment of 911 systems in many cities throughout the U.S..

 

In 1988, the ATS and Congress established May as National Trauma Awareness Month (NTAM).  In its 26th year, NTAM continues to provide themed prevention 

programs and education for all ages. Through this campaign, the ATS was the first organization to advocate for the prevention of “Red Light Running”.  Subsequent years have highlighted the risks of falls, distracted driving, drunk driving, sports injuries and many other important injury prevention topics.

 

In 2005, the ATS expanded its work to look at the needs of trauma survivors.  After significant research and the establishment of an advisory committee, the ATS formed the National Trauma Survivors Network (TSN). This program is designed to advise and support trauma patients and families as they rebuild their lives after a traumatic injury.  To date, the TSN program is in 25 centers around the U.S.

 

Today, the American Trauma Society is a 501c3 organization with over 1500 individual, institutional and corporate members, representing all 50 United States, and over 25 countries.  It continues as the public-face of trauma, educating lawmakers, providers and the community to ensure optimal care for victims of trauma from point of injury throughout the continuum of rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

 

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