Danya20: “Different, Not Less”

Image of a rainbow umbrella in a sea of black umbrellas, with the caption "Different, Not Less"Dr. Temple Grandin, animal behavior expert and author of The Autistic Brain, once stated, “I am different, not less.” Danya International has believed in this sentiment from our very beginning. Many of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants that we received throughout our early years focused on how to help facilitate inclusion and communication with the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community.

Since 2002, we have developed and evaluated a number of educational products for individuals with ASD and their caregivers, peers, professionals, and advocates who work with them. Our goal was to create products that would help build effective communication and listening skills within the ASD community, advocate for social inclusion in the general education system, and support the emotional and behavioral health of individuals with ASD.

As we began researching best ways to reach our target audiences with our programs and products, we realized that, while many websites offered products and information about autism, we could not find one online resource for individuals to go to find research-based, high-quality products that meet the needs of individuals with ASD.

Logo for Autism Online So Danya decided to become what we were looking for. In 2009, we took over management of AutismOnline, a site started by the parent of a young girl with autism. This parent’s vision of a website that would provide resources on a global scale to people with autism and their caregivers fell in line with our own ideas for an online ASD community.

AutismOnline was the first website of its kind devoted to providing research-based, effective, high-quality resources, products, and information on ASD across the lifespan. It also is a place where parents and caregivers of children and individuals with ASD can visit and know they are not alone. Visitors can access the Caregiver Community, an online community where autism caregivers can find information and connect with other autism caregivers.

Our mission to provide products for all individuals within the ASD community makes AutismOnline a unique and extensive resource. We provide information divided into four age categories: young children with autism, children with autism, young adults with autism, and adults with autism. Within these categories, we provide handouts, activities, and links to external websites and organizations.

We also offer our line of ASD-related products, which we have painstakingly designed to target the unmet needs of this growing population. Some of our more recent products include:

Image of Charting the Course curriculum binderCharting the Course, a curriculum designed to help parents of adolescents with an ASD from ages 10 to 18 years to support and educate their children in learning the skills needed to navigate sexual health, sexuality, and relationships. Charting the Course includes a 315-page Parent’s Guide that contains chapters on topics such as puberty and personal hygiene, relationships, sexuality, and sexual health. Also included is a complementary interactive game, Boardwalk Adventure, designed to help adolescents solidify learning about sensitive topics, such as puberty and personal hygiene, friendships and relationships, dating etiquette, and sexuality-related topics in an interactive and fun way.

Image of Caring for Caregivers cover artCaring for Caregivers, an education and support group curriculum designed for professionals or paraprofessionals to use to help caregivers of individuals with autism across the lifespan reduce the stress, burden, depression, and anxiety related to caregiving. This four-part program is designed for groups of caregivers of: young children, school-aged children, adolescents and young adults, and adults with ASD. Each individual program contains a Facilitator’s Guide, Participant Workbook, and audiovisual program. Caregiver Community is a complementary website that visitors can use to find and share resources with other caregivers in their Caring for Caregiver groups or in their local community.

These products and many more can be found on AutismOnline.

In addition to our SBIR work, Danya recently assisted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a holistic evaluation of their Learn the Signs. Act Early. program, which aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need. We also have been helping to fill a need among Tribal communities, where resources are scarce, by giving out copies of our AutismVision: Creating Autism Awareness in Elementary School Staff curriculum during Head Start-related workshops. Our workshop attendees have provided excellent feedback for our much-needed assistance to these communities.

As Dr. Grandin and so many others with ASD prove consistently, those who are “different, not less” can make extraordinary contributions to society—it is up to us as their advocates, friends, and family to make sure they have the chance. For this reason, Danya has been deeply committed to our efforts to enhance and support the lives of children and adults with ASD as well as their community.

Danya20: SBIRs and Investing in the Big Ideas of Small Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program supports scientific excellence and technological potential through the investment of Federal research funds into critical American priorities that will help build a strong national economy. Currently, 11 Federal agencies participate in this three-phase program, which, according to SBIR.gov, strives to: stimulate technological innovation; meet Federal research and development needs; foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged persons; and increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding.

Phase I SBIR grants help a small business develop a concept or pilot. In Phase II, the small business uses its grant to develop, test, and evaluate the product. Phase III, considered the commercialization stage, is where the small business produces and sells their final products.

Since our beginning, Danya has won more than 100 Phase I and Phase II SBIR grants and contracts. Through this mechanism, Danya developed and enhanced its capabilities in research and evaluation, curriculum development, health product development, website development and maintenance, graphics, animation, and conference support. In 2000, Danya received the prestigious Tibbetts Award, which recognizes firms for their achievements in the SBIR program.

Our SBIR projects have provided awareness to reduce stigmas through videos and games, facilitated engagement through classroom curriculum, and provided information through websites. They covered issues such as autism, Tourette syndrome, cancer, alcohol abuse, substance abuse and prevention, smoking cessation, sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition, postpartum depression, mental health, and developmental disabilities. These projects resulted in the development of classroom curriculum, facilitator guides, screening tools, websites, factsheets, videos, board games, and even a children’s cartoon.

Our SBIR work has led to products such as:


DA102-3 This program was developed to foster the social inclusion of children and teens with autism, high-functioning autism (HFA), and Asperger syndrome in general education classrooms. The program consists of multimedia packages designed to reach children ages 8 to 11 and teens ages 12 to 15. The goals of AutismVision are to: increase typical children’s and teens’ understanding of autism, HFA, and Asperger syndrome; foster empathy and positive attitudes toward classmates with autism, HFA, and Asperger syndrome; and promote positive social interactions between children and teens with autism, HFA, and Asperger syndrome and their typical peers. This audiovisual program provides classmates with comprehensive, developmentally appropriate information about autism, HFA, and Asperger syndrome. Facilitator’s guides provide instructions for teachers or other advocates on how to implement the classroom presentation effectively, along with suggested activities to reinforce main learning points.


DA115-2The Adolescent Smoking Cessation Escaping Nicotine and Tobacco (ASCENT) program is a fun, engaging way to help youths understand social influences and learn refusal skills. Approximately 70 percent of smokers 12 to 17 years of age consider themselves addicted to cigarettes. Yet, there are very few resources that specifically target teen smokers. Cessation tools that help adults stop smoking aren’t always developmentally appropriate for teens.

Be Right Back: Time to Decide About Alcohol

DA156-2 This multimedia comprehensive curriculum educates 7th and 8th grade students about the risks of teen alcohol use and to prevent initiation of alcohol use among teens. Designed to correspond with the National Health Education Standards, this innovative curriculum provides all the information and resources needed to teach students about how alcohol affects teen bodies and brains, including their ability to make decisions. This DVD-based curriculum also provides a powerful tool to help teens lean and practice the steps to making decisions in difficult situations involving alcohol.

Many other products from our SBIR funding can be viewed at shop.danya.com. You also can check out our videos on the Danya YouTube Channel.

Danya20: Our CEO Talks About Celebrating 20 Years of Shaping Healthy Futures

Photo of Jeff Hoffman, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Danya International

Jeff Hoffman, Ph.D.
Danya Founder and CEO

May 17, 2016, will mark Danya International’s 20th anniversary. Founded in 1996 by Jeff Hoffman, Ph.D., our company’s journey began in, of all places, our CEO’s basement. While his daughter Daniella watched Under the Umbrella Tree and his son Yaniv played with Legos and pirate ships on the floor above him, Jeff started writing the government contract and grant proposals that continue to be the backbone of Danya’s business to this day. Jeff named his startup “Danya”—a blending of his children’s names, including his youngest Daphna, that reflected that this company would be a personal and impactful change, both for Jeff’s life and for the lives of those he hoped to reach through Danya’s work.

The rest, of course, is history. Danya continues to make positive changes through contracts and grants that allow us to help reduce addictions, prevent diseases, promote the health and education of young children and their families, and promote diversity and inclusion in everything we do. With a company philosophy of “Innovative Solutions for Social Impact,” we have embraced six core social impact goals that we conceived a decade ago and that continue to drive us in our search for new and socially significant projects:

  • Improving child, family, and public health
  • Improving public and behavioral health education and training
  • Improving the quality of comprehensive early childhood education
  • Reducing hunger and increasing food security
  • Reducing the impact of HIV infections and other infectious diseases
  • Reducing tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use and addictions

To help us kick off our anniversary celebrations, Jeff recently took some time to discuss some of the joys and accomplishments of growing Danya throughout these past two decades.

How would you describe your experience running the company?
Overall, it has been very exciting and fulfilling to run a social impact company, working in so many different important health and education areas. It has been an honor to work hand-in-hand with government agencies and personnel, to help them accomplish their public service goals.

Looking back at the past 20 years, what would you say is Danya’s greatest accomplishment?
There have been a number of accomplishments. We’ve worked closely with the Office of Head Start to improve the overall accountability and monitoring of Head Start grantees around the country, which we believe is resulting in improved education and comprehensive care for children and their families in Head Start.

We’ve accomplished many communication and training goals with CDC, helping to enhance HIV and other infectious disease prevention around the United States.

We’ve also been able to assist the Navy through their Clinical Preceptorship Program, which provides clinical supervision to their substance abuse counselors on Navy bases around the world, for more than 10 years. It’s been very fulfilling to work with our Armed Forces/military.

And we accomplished a number of goals in East Africa—improving health systems in Kenya, enhancing farming practices, and engaging women in leadership decision-making in farming co-ops in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Are the social impact goals as relevant today as they were 10 years ago?
Yes, unfortunately—they are still huge problems in our society and around the world. The drug epidemic, for example, has increased in this country recently; and while tobacco use has declined in the United States, it has increased in many countries around the world.

However, there has been tremendous progress in reducing the number of HIV infections and AIDS cases around the world. We’re honored to have made a contribution to this effort.

What do you find most meaningful about Danya’s work?
When we get feedback from children or families who are positively impacted by our video or web or educational materials, and we see that it helps them live a better life—that is meaningful. We’ve done a lot of work in the area of autism, providing a whole range of educational materials that are available on autismonline.com, that have been enormously helpful to many people around the country.

Where do you see Danya heading?
We plan to work in partnership with a range of other companies to build on our core capabilities in monitoring and evaluation, training and technical assistance, and marketing and communications to address a wider range of social problems.

Finally, what has been your greatest joy of running the company?
Working with the staff on these social impact projects. We have had and continue to have some of the most talented, dynamic, and gifted staff, and I enjoy planning, implementing, and problem-solving with the various teams. I also enjoy working with our clients on these issues. I especially like coming up with creative solutions to difficult social problems.

So, there you have it—the people are his favorite part of the business! Happy Anniversary, Danya!

Addressing Gender Inequity, One Scarf at a Time

Photo of farmer wearing green and gold scarf

A farmer proudly wears her new scarf, received during the Maychew ceremony

In the Ethiopian town of Maychew, more than 500 women gathered in October 2014, some to receive scarves of verdant green and marigold and others to receive similarly colored umbrellas during a ceremony to welcome them and to celebrate a long-awaited shift in gender equity. With this ceremony, these women joined thousands of others who are finally gaining the same representation for their labor as their male counterparts, thanks in part to a behavior change communications (BCC) campaign Danya International helped spearhead throughout Ethiopia.

Women farmers contribute substantially to sustaining Ethiopia’s agricultural sector, but numbers show that both primary farmer cooperatives (PCs) and larger farmer cooperative unions (FCUs) significantly underrepresent them. The Government of Ethiopia wants to change this. In 2014, they established a 30-percent target for female membership at these PCs and FCUs as a way to emphasize the increased efficiency that these groups would enjoy through active participation and leadership from women.

This was where Danya International was able to step in and provide the BCC support needed to make this goal a reality. Acknowledging that registration is both the first step and one of the biggest challenges to increasing women’s participation, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development (AGP-AMDe) project utilized Danya’s BCC expertise to implement an incentive-based membership drive that would help women farmers step away from the societal norms that discouraged their participation and finally join in.

Woman with umbrella

This farmer displays her umbrella, which she received in honor of her recruitment efforts

Beginning in early 2014, Danya’s BCC staff designed and implemented an intensive multi-lingual BCC strategy targeting four AGP regions—Amhara; Oromia; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region; and Tigray. They offered incentives such as scarves for women who signed up and umbrellas for current members who recruited five or more women to join. Additionally, the campaign offered walking tractors and motorcycles to the PCs that showed the highest increase in women participants.

Thanks to Danya’s collaborative outreach campaign, more than 78,000 women registered as new cooperative members throughout 2014, according to government reports (AGP-AMDe has verified more than 42,000 of these registrants so far). The regional average membership increase for women went from 25 percent to 32.5 percent, with Maychew’s Bokra FCU reporting that 52 percent of its membership comprised women farmers—the highest percentage of women members in all four targeted regions. All four regions have demonstrated significant membership increases among women farmers.

Aside from the incentives offered for joining and recruiting others, women farmers already are reporting increases in income and benefits thanks to their new membership with PCs and FCUs. As proven by Danya’s BCC campaign, with the proper amount of encouragement, many women farmers throughout these regions are finally reaping the full reward for what they sow.

Read more about this project and a recent conference that celebrated the graduation of 100 women leaders from the Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network.

Seriously, What is a Calorie?: Using Incentive Appeals and Old-School Techniques to Give Value to the Intangible Nutrition Fact

Fear appeals seldom work in behavior change because, quite frankly, no one knows what it feels like to die. So even when we’re presented with tame fear appeals, like cigarette warning labels that read “may cause lung cancer” or nutrition facts listing high sodium or calorie counts, we shrug it off because we can’t “see” their effects on our weakened lungs or struggling heart (like we could see, say, the results of a broken arm or tattoo). The idea of cigarette tar or a calorie poses no threat to me because I can’t even fathom what it is in its basic form—much less what it may do to my body.

So what if, instead of threatening my life, the appeal threatened my quality of life by actually showing me the threat’s impact on the things that I deem most important? Suddenly, our “out of sight, out of mind” mantra shifts to “I’m still not convinced this thing will kill me in the future, but I understand that it will definitely infringe on my freedom/time/appearance/friends’ approval today!”

Check out the new research from Johns Hopkins University that builds upon this idea:

  • For 6 weeks, researchers posted signs near soda refrigerators in Baltimore stores that told purchasers it would take 50 minutes of running or 5 miles of walking to burn off the 250 calories in the soda they were about to buy.
  • Their report shows a decrease in the number of sodas purchased and an increase in the purchase of smaller sodas (click to see a great infographic of this experiment).
  • The results? Forty percent of those interviewed who noticed the signs said the information changed their decision about what they would buy.
  • Even better? The purchasing effects lasted 6 weeks after the signs were taken down.

But knowledge-increasing and behavior-nudging tools, like the researchers’ posters, are not new, you say. After all, app developers have bottled this idea before and applied it to some of our favorite mobile app downloads, showing us how poor diet decisions will eat away at our daily share of calories and how many Empire State Buildings we have “climbed” when we opt to use the stairs.

Infographic of comparison between calorie information and real-world impact of calories consumed.

The problem? Pulling out a phone and scanning the bar code of a soda to see what impact it will have on my life is an added barrier for those for whom “getting fit” is not top-of-mind and who would buy the drink without thinking twice. For these people, who are literally holding the information-laden nutrition facts in their hands, information is not power. “Calorie” does not mean anything, so its threat falls flat.

For that reason, I really like the researchers’ use, here, of “old-school” techniques (posters, for crying out loud!) to nudge buyers at the point-of-purchase. The purchase power is still in their hands and they still can choose to ignore the sign without taking additional actions, but now “calorie” has more meaning. Nearly everyone buying the soda will see the poster and be reminded how far and time-consuming a 5-mile walk is—finally giving that calorie a face and value. Their soda-purchasing behaviors may not change but, who knows, maybe it will influence their potato-chip intake or TV time or miles walked later. At least now we’ve presented them with information that actually may be relevant to their day-to-day life instead of continuing to list that intangible, not-so-threatening calorie count and expecting it to do all the work.

What do calories “look” like to you? What nudges you to make healthier decisions? Have you seen fear appeals or “old-school” message techniques with positive outcomes?

By Katy Capers

Conducting Market Research? Check Out Some of Our New Favorite Tools

Know your audience!

The first rule across nearly all industries, accomplishing this feat is now easier with emerging tools that tap into today’s growing technological capabilities and capture what your target audience says, wants, and believes. And for health—where knowing what your audience thinks about personal health issues, what information they find most relevant, and how they feel about your brand specifically—this has been no easy accomplishment.

However, new tools span the gamut of information-gathering by tracking behavior, compiling online conversations around certain topics, and tapping into the value of community influencers. These innovative market research tools and others like them will continue to provide insight for health communicators in addressing audience needs.

Image of Curalate logo

Curalate. Through the use of image recognition algorithms, Curalate can identify user-generated images that matter to the audience and help organizations better understand what visuals resonate with them.

Why we like it: Users are communicating with visuals more and more. Ignoring images they share means ignoring valuable, volunteered information.

What this means for health communicators: Highlight the most relevant visuals on social networks and other Web properties to improve engagement.

Image of Truvio logo

Truvio. The Truvio platform allows instant access to the world’s largest panel of consumer health influencers, via the WEGO Health social network. Organizations have the ability to ask volunteer influencers about various health topics and conditions through the volunteer’s mobile phone. The volunteer’s voice response is recorded and archived for researchers.

Why we like it: Tapping into existing communities of health influencers means your respondents are eager to participate and share. Plus, nothing beats hearing the real voice of a real audience member!

What this means for health communicators: Capture the voice and opinions of real consumers for potential use in health campaigns, as well as use findings to inform future planning.

Image of CrazyEgg Logo

CrazyEgg. CrazyEgg has an advanced heat map tool that provides a snapshot of user behavior (on a specific Web site) that goes beyond Google Analytics functionality. Their deeper dive provides information on why users leave a site, what are the popular clicks, and where on the site your viewers are experiencing frustration.

Why we like it: No need for complicated user testing. Just add their code to your site and watch the results come flooding in.

What this means for health communicators: Gain a deeper understanding of user Web behavior and how to improve content based on click rates, navigation, and content selection.

Image of Treato logo

Treato. Treato uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to extract information about medications and health conditions discussed by patients online every day. NLP is able to extract relevant information from blogs and forums, and present it to patients on an ad-free platform without the use of medical jargon the user may not understand.

Why we like it: When patients have a problem with you (or your medication, diagnosis, etc.), they don’t always tell you to your face. Treato does the hard work and tracks down patient opinions where they are sharing them (and where you may have never looked).

What this means for health communicators: Compile patient opinions about specific conditions or medications from across the Web to increase personalization tactics and deliver relevant content based on audience inquiries.

By Katy Capers

Conversations About Social Media Accessibility

Word cloud with terms related to accessibility.

Accessibility is more than following Section 508 guidelines. It’s about making your content easy to find, navigate, understand, interact with, and contribute to—for more meaningful Web content and conversations with all Web users. Image from Jil Wright, Flickr.

As a result of Danya’s Google+ Hangout About Social Media Accessibility for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I was asked to moderate a panel at this year’s Federal Communications Commission “Accessing Social Media” event on July 16 in Washington, D.C.

As thrilled as I was to conduct the successful online event, I am even more thrilled that the conversation about accessibility within social media—making content easy to find, navigate, understand, interact with, and contribute to regardless of a user’s abilities—is continuing throughout several industries.

It is important the dialogues about accessibility move beyond the technical realm and into the conversations communicators are having about content.

Most content, Web, and software developers consider digital accessibility, Section 508 laws, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to be technical roadblocks that add unnecessary limitations or red tape to their processes, or limit the “cool” things they can do with their exciting new idea. But to the 1 billion disabled people worldwide who use the Web and all things digital to access vast amounts of information previously off limits, these laws and guidelines are life-changing.

In a quickly changing digital world where social media is becoming a more widespread communication channel, we are all now “Web people” because we are all now posting images, videos, thoughts, and content to the Web. As the Web has grown into a two-way communication medium, many of our perceptions and policies have not grown to accommodate the new reality. With the new power each of us has to post our own thoughts and unique content, comes also the responsibility to make that content accessible to all.

So what does this mean to you right now? Here are some simple things YOU and your organization can do to get started:

  • Read the United Nations’ Enable Factsheet on Persons With Disabilities to understand more about the world’s largest minority.
  • Watch Danya’s Google+ Hangout About Social Media Accessibility featuring a brilliant panel that included:
    • Judy Brewer, Director of the Web Accessibility Initiative at the World Wide Web Consortium
    • Katia Albanese, Program Manager with ePolicyWorks
    • Hope Adler, Management Consultant with ePolicyWorks
    • Victoria Wales, Bilingual Web Content Manager for USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov
    • Julia Bascom, Director of Program at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network
    • Robert Kingett, disability journalist, blogger, and video game critic
    • David Timar, Chief Executive Officer of Crossway Media Solutions, the company behind TalkingFlix

    Thank you to my Danya Team members (Tracye Poole, Carlos Chapman, Karen White, and many others) for helping make this such a successful event. You can check out some of them setting up for the event in Danya’s Vine post from May 15.

  • Add descriptions and captions to images you post on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Tweet an accessible image, thanks to EasyChirp, to see how easy it is to be accessible.
  • Please, please, please stop telling people to “click here.” We’ve all been “here” a million times and no one knows where it truly is. How do you write better link text? The Nielsen Norman Group’s article about “Writing Hyperlinks” is a great place to start with good tips to improve usability for everyone (and as a bonus, it also can improve search engine optimization!).
  • Try out the accessibility features on your smartphone. Get a short tutorial from Tommy Edison, The Blind Film Critic, and watch “How Blind People Use Twitter and YouTube on the iPhone 4S.”
  • Provide a link that delivers social media visitors to an accessible version of the content on your Web site if you can’t develop an accessible version of the content for a social media channel.

In short, don’t let your messages miss a large and growing market of individuals with disabilities. Create content that contributes to improving the Web for everyone. It’s time to move from awareness to action and progressively changing things for the better. Not just for the largest minority, but for all of us.

By Jennifer Smith

Let’s Do T.H.I.S! Danya Launches Health and Technology Seminar Series April 30

Technology Health Innovation Seminars logo banner

Gamification. Big data. Wearable tech. Clicktivism. Anecdata. Memes. Selfies.

These buzzwords are enough to drive you mad!

With 2014 proving to be yet another year full of new technology trends and developments, you need to go beyond the buzzwords and focus on what can make a genuine impact on your work. It is not an overstatement to say that the supply of available tech tools and options can be overwhelming. Whether it’s wearable technology, big data analytics, or the new smart homes, it can be difficult to decipher what is sustainable and how it relates to everyday life. From a public health perspective, it’s especially important to know how to pick the right resources to help implement innovative strategies and techniques to achieve a positive impact.

As the healthcare industry becomes more digital, Danya International actively works to stay in the know on the newest innovations in health and technology. To help keep pace with today’s global advances, we developed a series of webcasts and in-person technology, health, and innovation seminars (T.H.I.S) that will highlight digital health trends and showcase the latest innovations, including how today’s businesses are implementing them and the impact they are having on public health. Presenters at the forefront of each field will show how the various technologies work, and why they are important for you and the changing healthcare industry. You won’t want to miss T.H.I.S!

Upcoming seminars include:

  • Gamification in Public Health Communication
  • Wearable Technology
  • Social Media Accessibility
  • Big Data and Predictive Analytics
  • The “Aware Home”
  • Health and Mobile Communications

Our inaugural, in-person event, “Gamification in Public Health Communication,” takes place at our Danya Atlanta Office Wednesday, April 30, and will feature Tara Roehl. Learn more about the event at www.danya.com/THIS and register today!

Danya Helps You Make Every Day a Healthy One with 2014 Calendar

Health Days CalendarDanya International recently released its first health observances calendar, available in print and online. The calendar highlights nearly 60 health observances throughout 2014, providing interactive ways to learn more about each observance and ways to support the health days.

The calendar, developed in cross-collaboration with team members from creative services and digital communication, was the brainchild of Janice Nall, managing director of Danya’s Atlanta office.

“We wanted to create a beautiful health observance calendar that public health advocates, like us, either could hang in their offices or interact with on their browsers. And I believe the team achieved that,” said Nall.

Beyond developing an easily navigable at-a-glance tool, the Danya team hopes the calendar will become a part of the preparation process when public health professionals plan events and promotional messaging in support of national and global health observances.

Richard Russell, associate director of creative services and the creator of the calendar’s theme, said, “Our thinking is that sometimes visuals are the best way to remind us of why we show up every day—to prevent and eventually eradicate diseases that affect our communities and world. To make every day a healthy one.”

To download and print Danya’s 2014 health observance calendar, visit www.danya.com/healthdays. If you recently received/downloaded the calendar and you’re looking for creative ways to hang up the poster in your office, check out this six-second tutorial produced by the Danya team.

Keep up with how Danya is making every day a healthy one by following the #healthdays conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

By Kianta Key

Shop CVS

shop cvs logoThe decision last week by CVS Caremark to stop selling tobacco products effective October 1, 2014, in over 7,600 pharmacies across the United States, is a milestone for the tobacco control movement. CVS President and CEO, Larry J. Merlo, stated that this decision to end tobacco sales “is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health.” This decision is said to cost CVS up to $2 billion in tobacco-related sales per year, but will likely save tens of thousands of people from developing tobacco-related diseases and premature death.

President Barack Obama praised CVS’ decision, saying it will save lives and reduce health care costs. He thanked CEO Merlo, stating that this “decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs.” However, what has received less attention is that President Obama also deserves substantial credit for this landmark decision. If it were not for the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 and the tobacco screening and cessation services covered under the ACA, CVS most likely would not have been in a position to make this landmark health-conscious decision.

In general, the ACA mandates screening of all patients for tobacco use and requires that tobacco cessation counseling and medication be offered to patients across all private and public health insurance plans.Although the requirements for reimbursement of these services is not clearly or consistently defined across health insurance plans, CVS was able to make the financial calculation that they will be able to make up for the $2 billion loss, and possibly even exceed it, through offering these cessation services and products in health clinics expanding within their pharmacies. CVS announced that they will launch a national smoking cessation program this spring, which will surely include offering a range of cessation services.

This is not to detract from the positive actions CVS has taken. By making this bold move, they are now leaders of the pack, and they will indeed save many thousands of lives by this action. We applaud their decision and say, “SHOP CVS!” We can all show our support for the decision by buying their healthy products. We at Danya call for a SHOP CVS campaign to support their decision and hope that others will follow their example. Let’s also give due credit to the Obama Administration for having the foresight to mandate tobacco screening and cessation coverage to promote health, save lives, and ultimately reduce health care costs from tobacco-related diseases.

The Danya Institute will be hosting the National Conference on Tobacco and Behavioral Health (NCTBH): Interventions, Integration and Insurance on May 19–20, 2014, at the North Bethesda Maryland Marriott, which will provide the tobacco control field an update on tobacco cessation and the ACA (http://www.danyainstitute.org/national-conference-on-tobacco-and-behavioral-health-2014/). Mark your calendars!

By Jeff Hoffman, Ph.D.

CEO, Danya International, Inc.