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G. Harold Martin Award

G. Harold Martin Award

2013 Kim Burgess


Since 2011, Kim Burgess has been the founder and Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, a field in which she has been involved for over twenty years.


A graduate of Indiana University, she moved to Fort Lauderdale and in 1990, she became the Membership Director of the Fort Lauderdale YMCA and subsequently was promoted to Director. Five years later she worked for the International Swimming Hall of Fame.


Kim’s extensive background in drowning prevention and water safety included developing and implementing SWIM Central for Broward County Florida Parks and Recreation Division in 1999. She researched, developed and co-wrote verbiage for a new Florida state law (HB 1319) requiring swim instructors that work with children that have special needs, to have an adapted aquatics certification. Since SWIM Central began, parents and guardians have enrolled more than 275,000 children in SWIM Central programs and more than a million swim lessons have been provided.


In 2007, she created and founded the International Swim Instructors Association and developed an online certification course for adapted aquatics. In 2009, she became the Drowning Prevention Health Coordinator for the Broward County Health Department, implementing drowning prevention initiatives for Broward County.


Kim is very active in the community providing training in drowning prevention and water safety to investigators, fire rescue, social workers and family strengthening providers. She is also responsible for all of the data collection, tracking and for reporting of all the drowning prevention initiatives and training in Broward County.


As the Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, the NDPA has grown exponentially as a direct result of Kim’s influence and drive within the drowning prevention community. Recently, the NDPA has established local chapters and within the past year, the NDPA has built relationships with a number of entities including the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NDPA produced a video sponsored by the Consumer Safety commission about the layers of safety measures for swimming pools which have been viewed by 3,361 people in just one year.


In March of 2012, the NDPA earned national recognition for its public education outreach using an extensive social media campaign and won PR Newswire’s “Earnies” Award in the category of ‘Best Outcome Based on Listening, Monitoring, and Measurement.’ Within the first three months of the campaign, NDPA’s Facebook reach grew 140 percent from 848 to 2,031 fans, and Twitter grew from fewer than 100 followers to 435, a 225% percent improvement.


These accolades come as Kim directed the NDPA organization in preparing for the 11th Annual 2012 NDPA Symposium, in San Diego, garnering twice as many attendees as the prior year and forging a new relationship with the United States Coast Guard and the Clarion Safety Systems. The 2013 Symposium in Fort Lauderdale was another overwhelming success.


Kim has held the following positions within three organizations: National Drowning Prevention Alliance 2009 Symposium Chair, Board of Directors NDPA, Broward County Death Review Team, SWIM Foundation Board, Chair Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force, Palm Beach County Adapted Aquatics Council, Board County Safe Kids Coalition, Advisory Council International Swimming Hall of Fame, Healthy Start Coalition, ISHOF Adapted Aquatics Committee, and Aquatic/Safety Reviewer for the American Red Cross National Headquarters.

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