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Mary Curtis

A Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College grant is aimed at helping a researcher make St. Louis homes safer for at-risk children. 

Mary Curtis, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, received a grant from Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College to study Accident and Injury Prevention in Children of Mothers in Recovery. Working together with the Queen of Peace Center, a non-profit agency providing behavioral health services for women struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, she developed an educational program to help mothers learn better ways to ensure the safety of their children.

Childhood injury has become a public health crisis and is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Elimination of unsafe surroundings and physical hazards, along with behavior modification at home, could ensure the safety of many children.  

Dr. Curtis’ goal is to decrease the number of serious accidents and injuries among children in the homes of women that have a history of substance or alcohol abuse. These women are also often victims of physical abuse. 

Dr. Curtis conducts monthly classes at Queen of Peace, where she discusses topics on accident and injury prevention in the home and community. When women agree to participate in the program, they are given a gift card to encourage their participation, a disposable camera and a home safety checklist.  They are asked to go home and take photographs of hazards that provide an unsafe environment for their children. After the photographs are developed, Dr. Curtis meets with these women again to discuss their findings and develop a plan that will ensure the safety of their children.  

The program has recently received a van that is being retrofitted to allow participants to have hands-on experience in identifying potential hazards in the home.  Dr. Curtis is literally taking her program to the streets and providing another means of helping those who may be unable to come to her.  

Dr. Mary Curtis has over 30 years of experience as a registered nurse, working with children, parents and community agencies on accident and injury prevention.