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Syphilis outreach campaign receives national award

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department and Fleishman-Hillard International Communications are the recipients of this year's prestigious Silver Anvil Award for the campaign, "Did You Take SyPHILis Home Last Night?" The Public Relations Society of America sponsors these awards.

The Silver Anvil, which recognizes outstanding achievement in strategic public relations planning and implementation, was presented June 8 in New York City. Other finalists in the category for public service -- associations/nonprofit organizations included:

    American Heart Association -- "Go Red for Women" campaign

    WGBH Boston -- "Rx for Survival -- A Global Health Challenge"

With a 300 percent increase in syphilis in a year, the "Did You Take SyPHILis Home Last Night?" campaign aimed at building awareness for prevention methods, as well as promoting free and confidential syphilis testing and treatment. The campaign raised community awareness through newspaper and radio coverage, and communications with the health care community. In addition, on-site testing and treatment messages were promoted at bars, clubs and outdoor venues with the help of community health volunteers and Flo -- one of Kansas City's well known drag queens. The result was an increase of testing by 62 percent and the completion of 178 on-site syphilis tests among high-risk populations in the Kansas City area over the course of two months.

"The issues surrounding syphilis had to be in the forefront of the community's mind, because of the large increase in syphilis cases. The 'PHIL' campaign really invigorated the staff and our partnerships in the community to get the message out. It was a great team effort," said Lesha Dennis, epidemiologist specialist in Health Department's Communicable Disease Prevention and Public Health Preparedness Division.

"The fresh approach to 'Did You Take SyPHILis Home Last Night?' proves that we can still talk about health with the community, even when the market for such messages is saturated, and people will listen and make healthy decisions," said Nabeeha Mujeeb Kazi, senior vice president and director of the Public Health Group at Fleishman-Hillard in Kansas City. "Fleishman-Hillard is proud to have had the opportunity to work with the Kansas City, Mo., Health Department on such a bold campaign that made a difference."

The Silver Anvil Awards program has grown in scope and stature since its inception in 1946. These awards are given to programs in 54 categories. Since the inception of the program, more than 1,000 organizations have received Silver Anvils for excellence in strategic public relations planning and implementation.

The Public Relations Society of America is based in New York City and is the world's largest organization for public relations professionals. The society has more than 29,000 professional and student members. The Public Relations Society of America is organized into 112 chapters nationwide, 19 professional interest sections, along with affinity groups, which represent business and industry, counseling firms, independent practitioners, military, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms and nonprofit organizations. The Public Relations Student Society of America has 272 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

For more information about the Public Relations Society of America and the Public Relations Student Society of America, visit

City News Releases - 2006

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