An organization launched by a UM medical student to establish prehospital emergency care programs in resource-limited settings abroad has been recognized by the British Royal Family for helping improve global road safety.
LFR International, co-founded by M2 Peter Delaney, is a 2020 recipient of the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. For decades, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has been the public face of the awards campaign to recognize innovative road safety efforts in the UK and around the world. About 20 awardees are selected each year, including programs run by governments, academia, and non-profit organizations.
“We are humbled and grateful to HRH Prince Michael for singling out LFR International and our efforts,” said Delaney. “In many parts of the world, help isn’t always a phone call away. Roads are treacherous and ambulance services that many are fortunate to take for granted just don’t exist. LFR International has aspired to work within existing infrastructures and transportation systems to improve health and emergency care for the injured, regardless of where they live.”
While many selected initiatives focus on improving vehicle and highway safety directly in developed, high-income countries, LFR, short for Lay First Responders, joins a growing number of recipients that target indirect safety improvements in low-income, resource-limited settings; in this case, teaching motorcycle taxi drivers essential trauma response skills – making a proper tourniquet or immobilizing a back or neck injury – when inevitable road traffic accidents occur in places that lack emergency services infrastructure.
“I have been impressed by your work and especially the programme to develop lay first responders in sub-Saharan Africa,” Prince Michael wrote in his announcement notice to LFR International. “I am therefore delighted that your organisation has been selected to receive the International Road Safety Award in recognition of innovation and outstanding achievement.”
Delaney founded LFR in January 2019 with Zach Eisner, a peer at Washington University, where both were completing their undergraduate degrees. Their efforts have trained thousands of motorcycle taxi operators – those most likely to be first at the scene of traffic accidents – basic first-responder skills across parts of Uganda, Chad, Guatemala, and Sierra Leone.
Since coming to UM, Delaney has been mentored by Dr. Krishnan Raghavendran, the Director of the Michigan Center for Global Surgery and Division Chief of Acute Care Surgery. The Center for Global Surgery has provided Delaney with financial support to expand training operations and mentorship to conduct rigorous follow-up and outcomes research. Delaney recently submitted his first NIH grant application to the Fogarty Institute at the NIH for an R21/R33 funding opportunity to study the application of mobile technologies to coordinate and optimize prehospital response for improved emergency coverage and outcomes. Raghavendran is the co-PI with Delaney on the proposal.
“The support I have received from Dr. Raghavendran and the Department of Surgery has been tremendous,” said Delaney. “They have embraced and supported our work with expert mentorship and funding, which has been essential for refining our research aims so that we can conduct impactful work. I am incredibly fortunate to be attending medical school at a university that is willing to support work in global surgery and also willing to support students doing so."