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Unni lands Unsung Heroes of Highway Safety award

Jul. 26, 2018, 9:29 AM


Purnima Unni, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention program manager at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, has been selected to receive a Ford Driving Skills for Life Unsung Heroes of Highway Safety award.

Purnima Unni

Ford Driving Skills for Life Program gives the award to a select group of leaders based on their dedication and passion to saving lives on roads and highways. Unni, one of six recipients nationwide, will receive the award Sept. 13 in Washington D.C. at the Capitol.

“When it became time to select our ‘Unsung Heroes of Highway Safety’ award recipients, Purnima Unni was at the top of our list. Having successfully launched and managed the innovative ‘Be in the Zone’ program for the past eight years, we could think of no one more deserving,” said Jim Graham, global manager for the Ford Driving Skills for Life Program. “Purnima and her team work tirelessly with students across Middle Tennessee, hospital staff and our dealers to make our roads safer. That is no small task, and for that we are most appreciative.”

Since 2011, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services has awarded more than $500,000 to Children’s Hospital’s for the ‘Be in the Zone’ program, which seeks to address the growing problem of teen motor vehicle crashes in Tennessee. ‘Be in the Zone,’ led by Unni, is a unique hospital-school collaborative program that educates teenage drivers about the dangers of texting while driving.

“I am so humbled and honored to receive the Unsung Heroes of Highway Safety award,” Unni said. “Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of trauma admission for the teen population. Through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund we have been able to reach youth in 73 counties and impact more than 92,000 teens and adults.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have funders who believe in us and our vision of keeping youth safe behind the wheels. Their continued commitment to this program has been so inspiring and we are truly honored to partner with them,” Unni said.

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