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Syracuse University’s Project iMPPACS’ partner wins Telly Award for HIV prevention ad
Syracuse University’s Project iMPPACS’ partner wins Telly Award for HIV prevention adAugust 21, 2007Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Syracuse University played a big role in a public service announcement that recently won a bronze award — the second-highest award given — at the 28th annual Telly Awards, an international competition honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as video and film productions. The public service ad, “Check Yourself,” promotes HIV awareness among young African Americans; the key message is that that no one is immune from HIV. “Check Yourself” was produced by Motivational Educational Entertainment Productions Inc. of Philadelphia and was created as part of Project iMPPACS, an intervention study led by Syracuse University in collaboration with a consortium of academic institutions. “Check Yourself” was selected for the award in the nonprofit category from among 12,000 entries.
Project iMPPACS is a large-scale research study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (a division of the National Institutes of Health), conducted in Syracuse and three other cities, and focused on HIV prevention among African American adolescents. The five-year project will enroll 1,600 African American youth across four cities to investigate the impact of a community-wide mass media campaign and a small-group intervention to promote awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; in Syracuse, more than 300 teens have enrolled in the program thus far. MEE, a health communications and social marketing firm targeting urban and ethnic audiences, was hired by the study team to develop the television and radio ads. The ads were created in collaboration with study team members, with input from teens in Syracuse and Macon, Ga.
In Syracuse, Project iMPPACS is based in SU’s Center for Health and Behavior, in partnership with several community-based organizations and health care providers. Community partners in Syracuse include the Southwest Community Center, the East Side Boys & Girls Club, the Dunbar Center, Huntington Family Center, the Syracuse Housing Authority, Onondaga County Family Planning and the Center for Community Alternatives.
The Center for Health and Behavior facilitates and encourages research on the behavioral and psychosocial aspects of health, including topics such as the health effects of aging, alcohol use, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, smoking and stress. Scientists in the center often develop and evaluate programs to promote health in children, adolescents, college students, adults and families. Research occurs in laboratories, hospitals, schools and community-based agencies, as well as in collaboration with colleagues in the United States and abroad.
Project iMPPACS’ principal investigator is Peter Vanable, associate professor of psychology in the Center for Health and Behavior; co-investigator is the center’s director, Michael Carey; the project director is Rebecca Bostwick, who earned her master’s degree from SU. Other collaborators include faculty from Brown University, Emory University, the University of Pennsylvania, Wayne State University and the University of South Carolina.
“We’re very pleased that our media partner has received this well-deserved recognition,” says Vanable. “The TV and radio ads have been very well received in the community, and we believe they will help to promote awareness of an important and often overlooked health concern among teens.”
In addition to providing feedback on the impact of the ad campaign, Project iMPPACS teens also participate in small-group educational programs designed to reduce risks for HIV and other major health concerns.
“Working with passionate community partners as well as students and other colleagues from across the U.S. has been a real joy,” says Carey. “We expect that the media and face-to-face interventions will help young people living in Syracuse to better understand — and reduce — their risk for HIV and other STDs.” Carey notes that such projects “demonstrate the unique synergy that can be created by academic/ community/ media partnerships, which create unique opportunities for students, faculty and staff.”
The Telly Awards program, founded in 1978, is a widely known and highly respected national and international competition that annually showcases the best work of the most respected production companies in the world.