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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 31, 2006

Wellmark Funds Public Health Educational Outreach Series

A contribution from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield will help support a University of Iowa College of Public Health-based initiative that, for the past five years, has delivered public health educational programming to residents in all corners of the state of Iowa.

The Educational Outreach Program (EOP) series, presented in partnership with the UI Alumni Association and local community organizations statewide, matches the expertise of public health faculty members with specific community interests and concerns. Previous programs have addressed topics such as birth defects, cancer, flu and other infectious diseases, obesity, nutrition and childhood safety. Seven community programs, including sessions on cancer in northeast Iowa, avian flu and Medicare/Medicaid, are being planned for the 2006 series. Additional topics, specific dates and locations for this year's series will be announced early in the spring semester.

"Communities throughout Iowa have benefited greatly from the information presented by the College of Public Health faculty," said Diana Baculis, director of community relations for the College of Public Health. "The opportunity for exchange and interaction with experts in the public health field brings a wealth of knowledge and learning to Iowans in cities outside the university area."

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has provided funding for the EOP series since 2004. For more information regarding Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, visit http://www.wellmark.com. The series was launched in 2001 and was the recipient of start-up grants from the Principal Financial Group Foundation.

Programs in the series are designed and presented in cooperation with community-based organizations, including community colleges, hospitals, local health departments and other social service agencies. All presentations are free and open to the public, with some offering continuing education credits.

In 2005, EOP events were presented in Creston, Burlington, Des Moines, Independence, Ft. Dodge, Davenport and Council Bluffs. Since 2001, a total of 34 programs have been presented throughout the state of Iowa.

"All of the programs presented by the faculty at the College of Public Health are high quality and dense with health information to improve the quality of life and awareness of conditions, issues and facts that impact healing and good health," Baculis said. "We certainly appreciate the support of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and their assistance in bringing these programs to Iowans."

More information about the EOP series can be found on the Web at http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/outreach/eops/.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health, Office of Communications, 4261 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dan McMillan, 319-335-6835, daniel-mcmillan@uiowa.edu; Angela Feig, 515-245-4551, feigab@wellmark.com