West Virginia Student’s Risk Management Protects Islanders from Coconuts

The chance of being struck by a falling coconut while vacationing on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is much less today than it was a year ago.

That’s because West Virginia University graduate student Ekta Choudhary helped the National Park Service assess and reduce the island’s injury risks.

As a result, 1,400 potentially dangerous coconuts were removed.

The university says Choudhary also helped determine which roads were the most dangerous and what hidden hazards hikers might encounter.

She created a risk-assessment tool using five years of injury records to help park officials decide where to focus their prevention efforts.

Choudhary is working on her Ph.D. in public health science at the WVU School of Medicine Department of Community Medicine.