Unifying Water Safety Efforts Across the United States: A Panel Discussion

Presenters: Megan Ferraro; Julie Gilchrist, M.D.; Adam Katchmarchi, Ph.D.; Alison Petri, Ed.D.

Wednesday, November 15, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
1 Hour | 1 PHTA CEU | 0.1 IACET CEU


Presented by 



Water safety is a large and complex topic and there a number of efforts both nationally and locally to address the problem. Join a panel of experts in water safety as they discuss recent advancements, ongoing programs, and the future of water safety. This session will include an open dialogue with the audience, so join in and get your questions answered.


Learning Objectives

  • Understand the many ways that drownings happen.
  • Understand the importance of cross-sector collaboration in water safety.


Presenter Bios

Megan Ferraro is the Executive Director of The ZAC Foundation, where she oversees programs, directs philanthropic partnerships, and represents the nonprofit as a subject matter expert in aquatic sector initiatives, and at industry events, with both legislators and the media throughout the country. Megan is also a Steering Committee member of the National Water Safety Action Plan, Co-Chair of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Advisory Board, and founding member and Steering Committee member of Families United to Prevent Drowning.

Julie Gilchrist, M.D., is a pediatrician and researcher who retired in 2017 from CDC’s Injury Center after more than 20 years guiding research and programmatic efforts to prevent common childhood injuries such as drowning. She graduated from Rice University, attended UT Southwestern Medical School, and completed her pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She joined CDC’s Injury Center in 1997 as an EIS Officer. She focused on the prevention of childhood injuries after caring for too many children in the emergency department or intensive care unit following drowning or other injury incidents, often without desired outcomes. She has authored numerous research articles and book chapters and worked with many national and international water safety organizations. She has co-authored the last two American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statements and technical reports on drowning prevention. Since retiring from CDC, she has continued to support drowning prevention research and programs through work with national organizations like AAP and NDPA and foundations that focus on water safety.

Adam Katchmarchi, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) and also serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Sciences at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Adam completed his Ph.D. in Coaching and Teaching Studies with a cognate specialization in Sport Management from West Virginia University. He received his M.S. in Sport Management from IUP and completed his B.S.Ed. in Health and Physical Education with a minor in Aquatics from Slippery Rock University. Adam currently serves as a steering committee member for the forthcoming U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan, as an organizational representative to Water Safety USA and the Aquatics Coalition, represents NDPA in the planning for National Water Safety Month, and serves on numerous industry committees and councils. Adam holds provider, instructor, and trainer certifications from multiple safety and aquatic organizations and is a licensed teacher in the state of Pennsylvania for grades K-12. He received a National Swimming Pool Foundation Fellowship Award in 2014 and has been recognized twice by Aquatic International as a Power Award recipient, first in 2012 as a “Next Generation Leader in the Field of Aquatics” and again in 2017 as one of the “Most Influential People in the Aquatic Industry.” Most recently, Katchmarchi received a Recent Alumni Award from Slippery Rock University in 2019 and the NDPA President's Award in 2020.

Alison Petri, Ed.D., was always the child at school who had her name written on the board as punishment for talking out in class. As the years have passed, her energy, enthusiasm, and talkativeness have not dwindled but have been focused. With her background in education and advocacy, Alison has worked to use ‘her big voice to make the world better for its smallest people.’ With drowning being a preventable tragedy, Alison is eager to use her energy and talents to make a difference. Alison’s formal education includes a double major in education and public relations from the University of St. Thomas, and a master’s and educational doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Dayton. Alison has taught children from toddlers to middle school and worked in educational public policy for nearly 2 decades. Alison currently is also the Program Manager for Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation in Minnesota. Alison loves the mission of Abbey’s Hope: “Safer Pools. Safer Kids.” and is honored to work with the NDPA to further prevent childhood drownings. In 2020 Alison received the NDPA President’s Award with the virtual conference team for their excellent pivot to present a virtual conference. In 2021 Alison received the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Distinguished Service Award for her partnership efforts to promote water safety in the Minneapolis area.

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