Washington, D.C. – In celebration of the fourth annual National Women’s Health & Fitness Day on Wednesday, September 28, experts from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) will be available to discuss topics related to women’s health and fitness such as the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating habits; cancer screenings; reproductive health and prenatal care; and ways to enhance health and prevent complications while living with diabetes.
AIR has long dedicated itself to supplying key health awareness information and materials to women. “AIR helped pioneer the consumer-based health communications model that is frequently used in social marketing programs across the country. This model marries consumer research with science to create sustainable behavior change,” said Marilyn Moon, Vice President of the Health Program at AIR.
Signature health communications campaigns conducted at AIR include:
- A campaign to motivate women living with disabilities to undergo screening for breast cancer, since research shows this group is less likely to comply with breast cancer screening guidelines than women without disabilities. This campaign is being conducted on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- A campaign targeted to Hispanic women with diabetes with the overall objective of empowering them to manage their condition through healthful and informed choices. The campaign was the first Spanish-language program to receive the Health Improvement Institute’s Award for Excellence. The campaign also received a Gracie Award from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television. It was conducted on behalf of the National Diabetes Education Program, a partnership between the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- To support mothers and other caregivers who serve as role models for healthy eating, AIR developed a nutrition kit that included at-home activities encouraging eating a variety of healthy foods. This kit was developed on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- To promote physical activity and healthy eating habits among women of all ages, AIR developed a set of materials which provide guidance for reaching specific goals, such as a healthy weight and the appropriate increase of calcium and iron consumption. The materials are part of the Bright Future for Women’s Health and Wellness Initiative conducted on behalf of the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The "My Bright Future: Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Guide for Young Women” won a 2005 National Health Information Merit Award.
- A communications campaign aimed at convincing women of childbearing age to take folic acid supplements daily to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. The campaign included advertising, posters, brochures and media relations. The program was recognized with dozens of national awards and was conducted on behalf of the CDC in partnership with the March of Dimes.
AIR experts available to provide insight on strategies for reaching and motivating women regarding health-related topics include:
Marilyn Moon, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of the AIR Health Program. Dr. Moon is a nationally recognized economist who has written extensively on health policy, particularly as it impacts the elderly, and on social insurance issues. Recent publications include “ A Place at the Table: Women’s Needs and Medicare Reform.” Dr. Moon was a trustee of the Medicare Trust Fund between 1995 and 2000 and was recently elected President of the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Sharyn M. Sutton, Ph.D., Managing Director, AIR Health Program. For more than 25 years, Dr. Sutton has worked on a wide variety of public health issues such as quality improvement of health care delivery, end-of-life care, drug and alcohol abuse, covering the uninsured, cancer, diabetes, physical activity, obesity, food safety, and nutrition. As director of nutrition marketing for the USDA, she initiated the Team Nutrition campaign; at the National Cancer Institute, she developed the Once A Year For a Lifetime mammography campaign, which included partnerships with Avon and Revlon. As a developer of the 5 A Day for Better Health campaign, she created a partnership with the Fresh Produce Foundation.
Lynda Bardfield van Over, Managing Associate, Creative Director, AIR Health Program. Ms. Bardfield van Over has more than 25 years of experience translating audience research into creative strategies and developing multilingual mass media campaigns, specializing in the development of culturally sensitive materials. Her work has earned numerous awards including a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio & Television for “Por su vida,” a nutrition campaign developed for the CDC. Ms. Bardfield also presents several creative seminars annually as part of public health programs at American University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of South Florida. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Emerson College’s graduate Health Communications Program in conjunction with Tufts University Medical School.
Jeffrey J. Koshel, Managing Research Scientist, AIR Health Program. Mr. Koshel’s expertise involves measuring the performance of public health agencies, as well as developing and assessing innovative approaches to improving health outcomes. He has spent much of the past 20 years working with state and local health departments to reduce infant mortality and implement strategies for closing racial disparities in birth outcomes. Before joining AIR, Mr. Koshel served as Deputy Director of the State and Community Health Division of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Linda Weinberg, R.D., Managing Director, Communications, AIR Health Program. As a communications professional as well as dietitian, Ms Weinberg has long been on the frontlines bridging consumer research with communications and outreach in order to advance healthy behaviors among women. Ms. Weinberg led the Bright Future for Women’s Health and Wellness Campaign, as well as numerous campaigns for the USDA including Team Nutrition and Eat Smart Play Hard™ promoting healthy eating and physical activity among children and their care givers.
Lori Agin, Project Director, AIR Health Program. Ms. Agin leads a health promotions project designed to increase breast cancer screening among women aged 40 years and older with physical disabilities. As a health communications specialist, Ms. Agin has been involved in intervention planning to eliminate syphilis; advance health care access; prevent diabetes; and encourage timely immunizations for children.
Marcia Bache, M.M.Sc., R.D., Senior Associate, AIR Health Program. Ms. Bache provides professional expertise to the development and management of programs, partnerships, and materials that support health education and outreach efforts. As a health professional, Ms. Bache brings solid understanding of health science, particularly as it relates to the overweight or obese as well as to heart disease prevention, gastrointestinal disorders, AIDS, and cancer.
About Women’s Health & Fitness Day
Women’s Health & Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages. In future years, the event will always be held on the last Wednesday in September. This unique national program—with participation by local organizations throughout the U.S.—focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women. The Health Information Resource Center (HIRC)sm, organizer of this event, is a national clearinghouse for consumer health information professionals.
The American Institutes for Research, founded in 1946, is a leader in the behavioral and social sciences. AIR is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization engaged in domestic and international research, development, evaluation, analysis, product development, training and technical assistance and assessment.