The Ahrens Playground Safety Advocate of the Year for 2013 is Captain Ron Zabrocki. Recently retired from the United States Public Health Service and now residing in New Mexico, Ron is responsible for increasing the knowledge of Indian tribes regarding playground safety. The Environmental Health Support Center (EHSC) for the Indian Health Services coordinates a variety of training opportunities for the tribal and federal Environmental and Engineering programs. Starting in 2006, the EHSC contracted with the National Program for Playground Safety to deliver training on SAFE Playground Assessment. The target audience for this playground training included inspectors, designers, maintenance staff, and teachers associated with schools, Head Starts, and any location that had a public playground.
During the past seven years, courses were offered in Albuquerque, NM; Phoenix, AZ; Farmington, NM; Duluth, NM; Bismarck, ND; Window Rock, AZ; Chinle, AZ; and Billings, MT. Forty-one different tribes were represented at these training. 154 individual successfully completed the training. Approximately 50 individuals were federal employees that serve as consultants for the tribal environmental health programs. The remaining individuals were primarily tribal employees that provided direct services to a tribally run facility, generally a school or Head Start Program. Ten Head Start maintenance staff from Navajo Bureau of Indian Affairs completed the training. The staff is responsible for the installation and maintenance of playground equipment at over 150 Head Start locations on the Navajo Nation.