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Scripps reports on nine-year partnership with ACS

Alex Koumas | Nov 7, 2011

Scripps reports on nine-year partnership with ACS

By Alex Koumas,

ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 7, 2011) – Ohio University Scripps College of Communication staff recently produced a report to celebrate and illustrate the Scripps College’s nine-year partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS), which began in 2002. The partnership originated with the purpose of reducing and eliminating barriers to health in the Appalachian communities, which includes Athens and the surrounding areas. The focus is on lung, colon, and cervical cancer and mortality rates in the region, which are remarkably higher than the state average.

For the past nine years, ACS has provided the Appalachian communities with a flexible stream of funding to support faculty and student activities, teaching, outreach, and research toward the goals of preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering. The partnership has resulted in the creation of diverse public events, news releases, web site publications, research projects and articles, video, performances and other awareness initiatives.

Students and faculty from the School of Communication Studies and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, who initially adopted the Society as an external client, are involved in the partnership.

Eric Rothenbuhler, the Associate Dean of the Scripps College, has credits the dedication of the students and faculty, as well as those working on behalf of the American Cancer Society for nine years of partnership activity. He believes that it is important for the community to be more aware of this partnership and the advancements is has led to in the region.

“We want circulate the report for a couple of different reasons,” Rothenbuhler explains. “One, there are some lessons from our work about what kinds of activities are more successful when reaching out to the community. Some of the research was designed to evaluate our efforts and the results can help inform future outreach and research efforts. Secondly, we thought it was a worthwhile project that benefited the health community, the cancer community, the public and it was a big benefit to faculty and students in the community. We would like other people to know about that success and that good example in the hope that similar partnerships could be forged elsewhere.”

The initial student collaboration took place in Spring 2002 and included an advanced public relations class, where the students produced a public relations plan and promotional materials for the Athens County Relay for Life. The partnership goals were further bolstered as five additional faculty members incorporated the Society goals into seven different classes. Then, in 2003, the Society encouraged Ohio University to hold its first Relay for Life, which has grown to be the largest student-run charity organization on campus.

Over the years, the partnership has funded research activities related to health literacy and was instrumental in supporting and endorsing clean indoor air policies in the state of Ohio.

Many students who have worked on the projects have become interested in cancer communications and outreach and transformed those interests into cancer prevention and cancer research careers. Some have even gone on to work directly within the American Cancer Society.

Over the past nine years, the ACS and Scripps College of Communication partnership has produced extensive and remarkable results. Several of the outreach efforts have achieved national prominence, which include a cancer palliative care educational program and a documentary on exemplary pediatric cancer care.

“The partnership has been a wonderful thing and has helped us in teaching and researching in our public outreach mission,” Rothenbuhler said. “It has helped us make real contributions to the community in hopes of reducing cancer risk.”

For the official report on the American Cancer Society partnership, please visit