Ten-year-old Mya Holmes got a Huffy bicycle for Christmas, and now she has a helmet to go with it thanks to the family medicine residents with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

The fourth-grader and about 50 of her classmates also received riding safety tips at a bike program organized by the doctors-in-training on April 23 at J.G. Osborne Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

“This is one of our community outreach projects,” said resident Mona Madani, M.D., who organized the event along with fellow resident Aamir Abdullah, M.D. “Injuries are a big problem among children.”

You don’t have to tell that to Holmes’ grandmother Georgia Baker. “Mya’s already had her first ‘boo-boo’ in a fall. We’re making sure she has all the safety equipment including knee pads and elbow pads,” said Baker, who lives in Belmar Estates.

Cycling topped the list of sports-related head injuries among children 14 years of age and younger in 2009, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. There were 40,272 cycling injuries followed by 21,878 football injuries.

Wearing a bike helmet can prevent or minimize damage to the head and brain, research shows.

“We are always interested in doing activities that benefit our children,” said Kershunda Moore, an instructional coordinator at the North Side school, which has 417 students. “Some of the students were here for Saturday tutorials, and teachers selected the rest.”

Osborne Elementary School was selected based on its proximity to the Harris Health System’s Acres Home Health Center, which is where many UTHealth family medicine doctors and residents see patients.

The helmet giveaway was conducted in conjunction with a bike safety initiative launched by the Texas Medical Association in 1994. Hard Hats for Little Heads has gifted more than 235,000 helmets.

The TMA and the residents provided the helmets, and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians also provided funding.

Residents participating in the bike helmet giveaway included Dino Nguyen, M.D.; Ifeoma Ama, M.D.; Michael Hansen, M.D.; Tiffany Bunag, M.D.; Zenny Le, M.D.; Deepa Ramamurthi, M.D.; Richard Pedroza, M.D.; Abayomi Ogunwale, M.D.; and Amy Leake, M.D.

Participating faculty members included Larry Butcher, M.D.; P.D. Nguyen, M.D.; Mihir Parikh, M.D., M.P.H.; and Valeria Orue-Quintana, M.D.; Faranak Vossoughi, M.D., also participated.

So what does Mya want to be when she grows up? “She wants to be a doctor or a police officer,” Baker said.