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CRCHD Spotlight: Community Health Expo 2012 Highlights

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July 14, 2012
Silver Spring Civic Building
Downtown Silver Spring, MD

NCI/CRCHD and Partners Reach Racially/Ethnically Diverse Communities with Healthy Lifestyle, Screening, and Cancer Research Information at Community Health Expo

It was the first time ever that National Capital Area (NCI) had planned a Community Health Expo designed specifically to attract racially and ethnically (R/E) diverse communities from the National Capital Area (NCA) to raise awareness about healthier lifestyles and IV screening the need for biospecimen research.

Community Health Expo 2012

Community Health Expo 2012—Our Families, Our Research, Our Future was co-sponsored by the NCI's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities and Center for Cancer Genomics, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, George Washington University Cancer Institute, Howard University Cancer Center, and Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, in partnership with several other national and community health organizations.

The Expo, held at the Silver Spring Civic Building on July 14th, drew more than 3,000 community members from the NCA, many of whom were African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics.

The event, designed to heighten awareness of living a healthy lifestyle and preventing cancer, was tailored specifically to meet the needs of R/E diverse communities, which experience higher than average incidence and death rates from breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers.

Fifty exhibitors representing a full range of hands-on, educational, and fun activities suitable for the entire family participated in the Expo. They included local community, health, faith-based, educational, and research organizations, science students, businesses, and media. Exhibit information encompassed cancer and biospecimen research, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, drinking and driving, diet, and exercise. Free preventive screenings and information were also available. Scientists, physicians, and other experts gave presentations throughout the day on health topics of concern to diverse communities.

Event Highlights:

Check out the variety of fun-filled, educational, and interactive health-related exhibits and activities that were held that day:

Healthy Cooking Demonstration

Chef "Tee" Terrell Danley and Home Chef Brian Reeve presented a live cooking demonstration on how to make healthy meals and snacks, including ways to adapt recipes for low-sugar, low-salt, and low-fat diets. The audience was given samples of such delicious treats as honey ginger turkey and baby arugula salad wraps, orzo salad, and oranges and cinnamon.

"Diet is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, so Salt & Pepper's live demonstration of how to prepare healthy meals and snacks fit perfectly into the theme of the Expo," said Honey Fisher of CRCHD. "Their interactive demonstration really engaged the audience. The two of them know how to make healthy cooking fun to watch—and eat!"


Included in the healthy lifestyle Expo activities were a variety of participatory fitness demonstrations that took place throughout the day. Dr. Yang Yang demonstrated how ancient Chinese martial arts Taiji and Qigong can exercise the mind, body, and spirit. Teachers from Willow Street Yoga demonstrated yoga and explained how yoga can balance the body's metabolism, digestion, and sleep, while giving the body renewed strength and flexibility. Attendees also participated in a Zumba class, learning how to have fun and lift their spirits, while burning body fat and developing better body tone.

Youth Science Fair

Twenty-four elementary, middle, and high school students from Thomas S. Wootton High School, Winston Churchill High School, Tench Tilghman Elementary and Middle School, Little Genius Science and Math Program, and Kingdom Fellowship Covenant Ministries Youth Division demonstrated their science projects on a variety of topics.

Among the many interesting presentations were Tiffany Chang's display on the effect of film exposure time on human perception of color clarity; Brady Gunnarsson's project on the effect of scuffing the surface of a baseball on the path of a pitch; and Alice-Yanhong Lu's presentation on the study of the conservation of the beta 2-adrenergic receptor gene in vertebrates and invertebrates.

Dr. Precilla Belin, a CRCHD's program director, and Youth Science Fair committee member, said "the Youth Science Fair was a dynamic opportunity that allowed students to share their research with the community?and an awesome demonstration of young minds at work."

Following the Youth Science Fair, there were three presentations on training for a career in science. Dr. Elaine Sierra-Rivera, from the NIH Center for Scientific Review, described what it takes to become a scientist and the type of opportunities that are available at NIH. Dr. Bruce Fuchs, of the NIH Office of Science Education, provided tips on planning for college and explored career options in the health and medical sciences with the attendees. Dr. Shauna Clark, of the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education, explained where students can start to learn the tools and techniques commonly used in medical research.

Guided Tour through a Giant Colon

Dr. Oralia Garcia Dominic, an NIH/NCI postdoctoral fellow at Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center, and CRCHD's own Dr. John Ojeifo, led tours through a 40-foot long by 8-foot high inflatable colon, talking about prevention, treatment, and symptoms of colon cancer. They also stressed the importance of finding genetic causes of this cancer in R/E diverse populations.

The Power of Genomics

At the Power of Genomics, staff from CRCHD spent the day explaining how genetic information is obtained and used in cancer research. Using models that the children could learn to construct themselves, they explained scientific concepts such as biospecimens, DNA, and genes in plain language suitable for children and adults alike. They also described the benefits of obtaining genomic information and where tissue is stored to be analyzed for genetic information.

"NCI's Community Health Expo was a treat for the program staff because it gave us an opportunity to directly impact the community," said Dr. Liz Perruccio, one of CRCHD's Program Directors. "There is no greater reward than interacting with the very people we are trying to reach. It is this human interaction that is so important and continues to inspire our mission to reduce cancer health disparities."

Meet the Experts

An educational speaker program was a key part of the Expo. Dr Vikisha Fripp of Providence Hospital in Washington, and Dr. Kevin Gardner of NCI started the day with a discussion of how women can take better care of their bodies.

Next on the agenda, was a panel of disparity researchers that included Dr. Lucile Adams-Campbell of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, Dr. Claudia Baquet of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and Dr. Grace Ma of Temple University in Philadelphia. All three discussed their community-based participatory research on raising community awareness of the importance of biospecimen research in diverse communities.

"For many of the attendees at the Expo, this was the first time they had heard about the critical need for biospecimens from R/E diverse populations," said Dr. Rina Das, a Program Director at CRCHD. "The panel and the CRCHD exhibit on the Power of Genomics really had an impact, and afterwards, many attendees told us they were interested in donating biospecimens."

Dr. Robert Satcher, a cancer surgeon at MD Anderson and former NASA astronaut, discussed his two experiences of walking in space, and what it takes to be an astronaut. He also shared with the audience how he made the transition from operating room to orbit, and how space exploration creates medical discovery.

Dr. Satcher flew on the Space Shuttle STS-129 in November 2009 during its 31st shuttle flight to the International Space Station. "I always feel privileged to participate in efforts to promote science, and to engage young people," he said Dr. Satcher.

Dr. Carnell Cooper at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, and a "CNN Hero" for his violence prevention efforts, talked about a hospital-based program he developed that is breaking the cycle of violence among young people of Baltimore.

Dr. Hassan Tetteh, of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, closed the lineup of experts. He used an entertaining quiz show format to demonstrate simple steps to better heart health.

Social Media

We sought the assistance of multicultural print, radio, and electronic media before and during the Expo to promote the event and engage audiences across multiple platforms in the NCA.

We partnered with Radio One (Majic 102.3 and Praise 104.1) and CBS Radio (WPGC 95.5), and CBS Radio (El Zol WLZL) to advertise the Community Health Expo to loyal patrons from the young adult and mature audiences.

Advertising consisted of on-air radio interviews (English and Spanish), radio PSAs, digital advertising (English and Spanish), and an on location radio personality reporting from the event. In addition, ads (Chinese) were placed in the Asian Gazette and Washington Chinese News.

The Expo also proved to be a great opportunity to test out the use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to expand the reach of our pre-event promotion. Tweeting was used during the event itself to promote activities and presentations in real time. "Social media at the 2012 Expo was a huge hit!" according to CRCHD's Janine Winston. "Twitter increased the reach of the Expo to over 30,000 people."

Photos from Community Health Expo 2012

The Power of Genomics ExhibitGiant Colon Exhibit
The Salt & Pepper Chefs Demonstration Dr. Vikisha Fripp
Dr. Grace Ma, Dr. Lucille Adams-Campbell, and Dr. Claudia BaquetDr. Robert Satcher
Dr. Sanya Springfield and participant at Youth Science Fair Family Fun Activities and Games

Updated: 05/16/13