2016 Communication & Education Awards Winners

September 25, 2016

The Communication & Education Awards, formerly the CAM (Communication, Advertising and Marketing) Awards, recognize outstanding public and professional communication and education initiatives within the tissue banking community.

Groundbreaker Award

Program Title

Virgen de Guadalupe Cards


The challenge to find creative, affordable and culturally relevant ways of reaching Mexican born immigrants living throughout widespread geographic locations in Northern California and Nevada and corresponding to a diverse set of social, economic and cultural circumstances that have a direct connection to their willingness to become donors, inspired the development of the Virgen de Guadalupe cards and papel picado banners. Both innovations bring the message of tissue donation to the community bilingually, by use of traditional Mexican folk art and culturally relevant emblems.

Used as an emblem, the vibrant wallet sized Virgen de Guadalupe card was created with multiple community education purposes. First, to attract, connect, and to provide a gateway for a conversation with the community. Second, as a beautiful and culturally relevant take-a-away, the back of the card prompts the holder to have conversations about tissue donation with family and friends.


  • Kristina Ruiz-Healy, M.A. Political Science; B.A. Communications; Community Development Liaison, Donor Network West

Outstanding Professional Education Award

Program Title

Emergency Professionals Education


The Emergency Professionals Connection (EPC) is a biannual newsletter published by Donor Network of Arizona (DNA). The target audience is local emergency professionals, including firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The goal of the newsletter is to strengthen the relationship between DNA and Arizona’s first responders, recognize Arizona’s emergency professionals for their contributions to donation, strengthen personal connections to donation and provide relevant donation education. Each issue addresses the following topics:

  • Personal stories of donation and transplantation that have touched the emergency professional community. The stories are typically of local first responders or their family members who have been donors or recipients. Personal stories showcase the heroism and selflessness of donors, as well as the incredible impact of this gift on recipients and their families.
  • A range of stories that include organ, eye and tissue donation, and feature both donor and recipient perspectives.
  • Educational articles to inform first responders of relevant issues that connect them to their role in the donation process. For example, one issue highlights the importance of intubation and fluid documentation in ensuring the potential for donation.
  • Donation data that demonstrates the direct correlation between local emergency services and lives saved by donation
  • Educational infographics and donation statistics.

The project has yielded the following results:

  • Because DNA staff members personally deliver many of the newsletters to fire stations and emergency services, they have strengthened professional relationships with first responders around the state.
  • After reading donation stories that touch the emergency professional community, local first responders have expressed a deeper connection to donation.
  • Since receiving the first issue of the newsletter, three fire stations have reached out to DNA's Tissue Department to request presentations on donation. The EPC newsletter has opened the door for increased communication and education.


  • Samuel R. Ritter, BS, CTBS, Lead Tissue Recovery Coordinator, Donor Network of Arizona
  • Rhiannon Knueven, BS, CTBS, Tissue Recovery Manager, Donor Network of Arizona

  • Alexa Haynes, BS, Graphic Designer, Donor Network of Arizona

  • Anne Ackroyd, BA, Public Relations Coordinator, Donor Network of Arizona

Outstanding Public Education Award

Program Title

Have a Little Heart


Working closely with Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, a kidney recipient and small business owner, we developed an innovative community campaign whereby tissue and organ donation education reached patrons visiting their favorite local businesses in northern Nevada. Through grassroots communication and relationship building, we enlisted nearly 50 business owners. These owners pledged to offer discounts at their stores to registered donors at the point of sale (for a minimum of two months) when patrons presented their donor designation (i.e., in the State of Nevada, a little read heart on your driver’s license). Owners chose the discount they wanted to offer registered donors with some opting for 10% and others as high as 25%.

By signing on as a Have a Little Heart participating business, owners were asked to display table tents, point of sale brochure holders with donation education pamphlets for the public’s taking, and window clings to help the public identify each store’s participation. Each piece of collateral, and there were hundreds of pieces, provided helpful tissue education resources by directing patrons to our Donor Network West website. What’s more, a call to action was included on each piece of collateral such that non-registered donors could register without having to visit the DMV; rather, they could use their smart phones and sign up online (for instance, while waiting for their food order).

Have a Little Heart is the first tissue and organ education program of its kind in the nation. In its first iteration, nearly 50 businesses – serving thousands of people a month – joined on. To make this possible, we had to build and foster a key relationship with City of Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. We also needed to find a way to channel her advocacy into action, and we needed to capitalize on her status as a successful small business owner with ties to the business community.


  • Zach M. Hausauer, Community Development Liaison, Northern Nevada & Northern California, Donor Network West

Guest Judges

  • Jennifer Cramer, Speechwriter, Disney Parks & Resorts
  • Mark Bagley, Media Relations, AARP
  • Jessica Koth, Public Relations Manager, National Funeral Directors Association
  • A.C. McLean, Founder, ACM PR
  • Julie Slater, Stage Content Program Manager, TEDMED