University of Pittsburgh
June 20, 2002

Pitt Public Affairs Office Honored By Two Professional Societies "Booster Booster" Awareness Program Recognized As Among the Past Year's Best PR Efforts Nationwide

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June 21, 2002

PITTSBURGH—The national Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the international Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) both have recognized the Public Affairs Office of the University of Pittsburgh for excellence in public relations for its "Booster Booster" public awareness campaign launched last spring on behalf of the Grater Pittsburgh Immunization Task Force.

PRSA awarded its 2002 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in the community relations category to Pitt Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Robert Hill during the Silver Anvil Celebration Event held June 6 in New York City.

Hill also has been notified by CASE that the "Booster Booster" campaign has won a Gold Medal in the community relations programs and projects category of this year's Circle of Excellence Awards competition. The CASE Gold Medal will be officially awarded later this summer.

Led by the University of Pittsburgh, the "Booster Booster" public awareness campaign assisted the Greater Pittsburgh Immunization Task Force—cochaired by Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools John W. Thompson—in certifying that school children received their second measles inoculation as mandated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Because of this effort, virtually all of the school children in the City of Pittsburgh and thousands more in the 42 surrounding school districts achieved compliance and thus avoided school suspensions.

Stephen Thomas, Philip Hallen Professor of Community Health and Social Justice and director of the Center for Minority Health in Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), served as chair of the Task Force's executive committee.

Members of the Campaign's public relations committee included Ron Cichowicz, associate director, news, information, and national media relations (NINMR) at Pitt; Pat Crawford, director of communications and marketing for the Pittsburgh Public Schools; Kathryn Duda, writer, UPMC News Bureau; Angela Ford, associate director of the GSPH Center for Minority Health; John Harvith, assistant vice chancellor, NINMR at Pitt; Sandra Quinn, associate professor, GSPH Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences; and Bill Young, Pitt director of marketing services.

"As a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence winner, the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Public Affairs has been recognized by its industry peers to have met the highest standards of performance in the public relations profession," said Gerard F. Corbett, chair of the Silver Anvil Awards for 2002 and vice president of Hitachi America, Ltd. "We congratulate them on the exemplary research, planning, execution, and the results they delivered in this program."

The Silver Anvil Awards competition has grown steadily in scope and stature since its inception in 1946. Today the awards are presented for programs in 15 categories and several subcategories. In the 55 years since the Silver Anvil Program began, more than 1,000 organizations have received Silver Anvils for excellence in public relations.

According to the CASE letter notifying Hill of the Gold Medal award, "The judges were impressed by the detail and depth of the program you designed to address the large number of students who were faced with suspension due to lack of immunization documentation. It was clear from the material presented that the program was not only well planned and executed, but that it also was very innovative."

"It is always satisfying to be honored for your efforts by your peers," said Hill. "But in this case the accolades truly are secondary to the positive results our efforts achieved on behalf of the school children of the Greater Pittsburgh area."

Crawford of the Pittsburgh Public Schools said the school district also was notified that it had won a Gold Medallion for "Booster Booster" from the National School Public Relations Association. The award, one of only five to be given in 2002, will be presented to the Pittsburgh Public Schools in July.

The Public Relations Society of America (, headquartered in New York City, is the world's largest professional organization for public relations professionals, with nearly 20,000 members organized in 117 chapters nationwide who represent business and industry, counseling firms, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional service firms, and nonprofit organizations.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (, with its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and an office in London, England, is the professional organization for education advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, and development.

CASE membership includes more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and independent elementary and secondary schools in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and

42 other countries. This makes CASE the largest nonprofit education association in terms of institutional membership. The association serves more than 38,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions.