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The Rainbow Family of Living Light (RFLL), a large communal group with no centralized authority, has held an annual gathering on U.S. federal land for the past 34 years. In 2005, RFLL held its annual gathering in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Surveillance for injuries was established at nearby emergency departments and participants were asked to complete a health and risk assessment.
We found that the majority of injuries resulted from outdoor activities and were not associated with violence. Assessments indicate that this is a medically underserved population and that participants would benefit from preventive and crisis services. We recommend early collaborative planning with RFLL members to reduce the potential for burden on local emergency departments and to meet the health care needs of this group. Future host communities should consider providing minor care, health screening, and information or referral services near the main gathering site.