Over the years, many Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month activities have included community events, health fairs, and other in-person gatherings. Many of these campaigns have won ACG’s Service Award for Colorectal Cancer Outreach, Prevention & Year-Round Excellence (SCOPY). In light of the current pandemic, ACG is highlighting four past SCOPY-winning projects that can be accomplished remotely to inspire this year’s CRC Month initiatives and show that critical CRC awareness messages can have an impact, even while community gatherings are not feasible.

Best CRC Community Outreach During COVID

Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health
Pittsburgh, PA
COLOVID-19: The 2020 Story Before, During, and Afte

In early 2020, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) began a new initiative regarding screening colonoscopies to thank patients who took the step toward CRC prevention. “Happy TLC for your Colon” cards were signed by the physician and given to each patient who had a colonoscopy. Pivoting to provide the best and safest possible patient care during the pandemic, AHN developed patient education materials, including a telemedicine program with key points regarding colon health, procedure explanations, and a 19-point checklist for patients. CRC awareness efforts were continued through radio and magazine interviews with Dr. Katie Farah, and Facebook ad placement linking to the magazine article.

Best Use of Social Media

Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
Business as Usual – Colon Cancer Awareness Is Just a Part of Who We Are

A combination of traditional and digital outreach was used to connect with the 20 largest employers in San Antonio and spread the message of awareness and the importance of screening. GCSA produced updated infographics and posted on Facebook nearly every day with updates on colon cancer prevalence, CRC testing, and recommended screening ages. They also hosted a live Q&A session with their physicians on Facebook so patients both in and outside the local community could hear credible information and recommendations.

Best Culturally Conscious Social Media Campaign
Rachel Issaka, MD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA)
Darrell M. Gray, II, MD, MPH, FACG (The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH)
Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil (University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA)

Dr. Issaka, Dr. Gray, and Dr. May created a social media campaign to increase colorectal cancer awareness and screening in the African American community, to address higher disease burden and lower CRC screening rates. They created humorous, nostalgic images that would resonate with African Americans born in the 1960’s encouraging them to get screened using facts about how CRC affects the African American community along with the tagline, “It’s Time, Get Screened,” which was shared weekly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This campaign emphasizes that such targeted campaigns play an important role by complementing research, clinical, and advocacy efforts aimed to promote colorectal cancer awareness.

Best Culturally Inclusive Social Media Event
Duke Division of Gastroenterology/Durham County
Colorectal Cancer Screening Work Group
Durham, NC
Duke Cancer Institute Facebook Live Event for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The Duke Cancer Institute created a Colorectal Cancer Work Group in partnership with the Durham County Department of Public Health and other community organizations to provide culturally appropriate colorectal cancer screening information to African American, Latino, and Asian American communities, which often have lower rates of colorectal cancer screening. They created a Facebook Live series of presentations and Q&A sessions delivered in English, Spanish, and Mandarin, respectively, which were tailored to each audience and delivered by gastroenterologists from each demographic. Culturally appropriate issues relevant to these communities were covered in the discussions, which also included an interview with a CRC survivor about their personal experience with screening, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.