DIT Student Health Centre scoops National Award

DIT’s Healthcare professionals acknowledged for improving patient communication

14th May 2012: The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Student Health Centre was amongst the winners at today’s Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy Awards for their project, ‘No Umbrella Campaign.’ At a ceremony in Dublin, the DIT Student Health Centre team was awarded for their project, which they developed after noticing that many young men were not attending testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as they feared a painful and invasive test called an ‘Umbrella Test.’ DIT won first place in the category, ‘Best Project in General Practice’ for  developing a simple but effective campaign to reassure the students that this test was no longer necessary and that STI testing is simple and easier than ever before. They did this by using a colourful, humorous and clearly designed poster that dispels the ‘umbrella’ myth and removes any fear associated with testing.

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Pictured from left, Conor McGinnity, joint winner for his RTÉ Radio 1 documentary, My Dads Depression; Dr Inez Bailey, director, NALA; Deirdre Adamson and Louise O'Donnell, joint winners, DIT Student Health Centre; and Dr Neil Boyle, managing director, MSD. Photograph: Shane ONeill / Fennells

“The DIT Student Health Centre’s project showed a clear understanding of the false impressions that young men have about STI screening. They used humour and clear visuals to communicate their message in this innovative and easy-to-replicate campaign,” said Dr Gerardine Doyle, UCD School of Business and chairperson of the Crystal Clear Awards judging panel. 

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Deirdre Adamson, Conor McGinnity and Louise O'Donnell

Speaking about her team’s win, Louise O’Donnell, Practice Nurse, DIT Student Health Centre, said, “We are delighted to have won a Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy award. It is an honour to be recognised for our work. When we saw that uptake amongst our target group was low, we knew that we had to communicate in a way that would resonate with them. This has proven to be highly effective as it has not only promoted sexual health amongst our total student population, but it has also resulted in an improvement in their overall health and well-being.’’

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Louise O'Donnell, Conor McGinnity and Deirdre Adamson

DIT’s winning initiatives was selected from nearly 150 entries which had to demonstrate how they addressed the issue of health literacy. Health literacy is a person’s ability to understand and use basic health information, whether they receive it in writing, in person or over the phone.  Health literacy also involves a person having the knowledge to understand their options and make informed decisions about their own health.

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Deirdre Adamson, Louise O'Donnell, and Conor McGinnity

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Ms Ciara O'Rourke, judge and External Affairs Director, MSD, said, “Four out of ten people in Ireland have trouble with health literacy and can have difficulty understanding health information. That is why it is so heartening to see so many initiatives that are helping patients to have a better understanding of their health. All the winners and finalists that have been recognised today have empowered patients to take a more active role in the management of their own lifestyle, condition or illness and so make more informed decisions about their own health.”

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