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Release: Feb. 2, 2001

Dance Marathon to be electronically connected with patients, parents

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- For the first time, patients and families at the Children’s Hospital of Iowa will be able to see and speak to participants in the 2001 University of Iowa Dance Marathon this weekend via a video conferencing system.

The video conferencing units consist of television cameras and computers. Viewing stations will be set up in the Main Lounge on the first floor or the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU), in the Dance Marathon Family Room in the ballroom on the second floor of the IMU, and in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit on the seventh floor of the Roy Carver Pavilion at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

"We’re very excited to be able to provide this live link between patients and their families at the Children’s Hospital of Iowa and the dancers, children and families at the Dance Marathon," said Renee Finnell, development director for the UI Dance Marathon. "It’s a special opportunity for the children in the hospital to connect with us and to help remind us what Dance Marathon is all about, namely a chance to support children and their families who are facing some very serious health challenges."

Finnell adds that numerous staff members in UI Information Technology Services, UI Hospitals and Clinics Department of Nursing, Telecommunications and Child Life Therapy assisted with the development of the video conferencing system for UI Dance Marathon. SKC Communication Productions, Inc., also generously donated the H.323 videoconferencing equipment, which sells for $30,000.

UI Dance Marathon is affiliated locally with the Children’s Miracle Network and is also one of the nation’s leading student-run philanthropic events. In 2000, UI Dance Marathon raised more than $357,000. This year’s group of 1,100 dancers plans to exceed that total. The event began at
7 p.m. on Feb. 1, and concludes at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at