Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and former mayor of New York City. Zoleka Mandela, Global Ambassador for the United Nations’ Child Health Initiative and Nelson Mandela’s daughter. Kelli England, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics at EVMS and Interim Director of EVMS Pediatrics’ Community Health and Research division.
What do they have in common? They’re three of 42 leaders from around the world honored by the United Nations this year for their work in road safety.
“I never imagined I would be part of this group of high-level global leaders,” Dr. England says. “It shows that the work we’ve been doing at EVMS is really making a difference.”
The work making the biggest difference is “Boost ’em in the Back Seat,” a campaign led by Dr. England and launched in late 2017. To date, the web-based campaign to promote the proper use of booster seats has earned more than 23 million views in 154 countries. It has been honored with eight awards, including the 2018 Governor’s Transportation Safety Award for Occupant Protection in Virginia.
Dr. England was nominated as a global leader in road safety jointly by Bryan Porter, PhD, Associate Dean of The Graduate School and Professor of Psychology at Old Dominion University, whom Dr. England describes as a mentor and colleague; and Bilgé Yilmaz, MS, Dr. England’s mentee and a doctoral candidate at EVMS in the PhD program of the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.
“Dr. England has been a trusted and professional colleague for more than 20 years,” Dr. Porter says. “I have had the pleasure of seeing her work move from local to international impact, applying key principles of health behavior change models.”
Dr. England’s work, he explains, has helped researchers, government agencies and non-profits understand the best intervention techniques to improve child safety through correct infant-seat use and booster-seat use. “Her persuasive behavior-change programs are translational and digital, with complete ability to be shared worldwide and used in any community setting.”