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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 13, 2006

Innovative Cancer Prevention Poster Earns Award

University of Iowa faculty, staff and students in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health's (IDPH) Comprehensive Cancer Control Program won a 2006 Bronze Award for Excellence in Public Health Communication from the National Public Health Information Coalition.

The cancer prevention poster "From Ackley to Zwingle: Every Iowan Age 50 and Older Needs Colorectal Cancer Screening," was part of a larger social marketing campaign developed to increase public awareness of the need for colorectal cancer screening among rural Iowans 50 years and older.

"Although the number of Iowans who died from colorectal cancer has decreased over the last 25 years, 30 percent of these deaths may have been prevented if the cancer had been diagnosed earlier," said Jill Myers Geadelmann, director of the IDPH Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. "Because polyps and early-stage colorectal cancer may not produce symptoms, it is important for Iowans to be screened."

The campaign materials were developed specifically for rural Iowa audiences after Shelly Campo, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of community and behavioral health, tested the effectiveness of the national colorectal cancer screening campaign, "Screen for Life," and found that the urban ads did not work with rural audiences. The "Screen for Life" campaign, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was developed with input from people who live in cities and did not include the perspective of people from rural communities and small towns, according to Campo.

"Our research indicated that people respond best to images and scenarios that reflect their lives," Campo said. The materials chosen for the Iowa cancer prevention campaign used images and voices of Iowans from around the state and depicted Iowans 50 to 60 years of age.

Other contributors to the project included Tracy Routsong, UI doctoral candidate in communication studies; Natoshia Askelson, UI doctoral candidate in community and behavioral health; Patti O'Neill, designer; and Tom Langdon, photographer. Lorrie Graaf, regional public health advisor from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Holly Smith, IDPH Comprehensive Cancer Control Program Coordinator, coordinated the project. The development of the social marketing campaign materials was funded through a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The campaign materials will be available in February 2007 and will be distributed statewide. Contact Holly Smith at 515-281-0925 for copies or for more information.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Gleeson, 319-384-4277,