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Medical Society launches campaign

The Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide professional association of physicians, today announced the start of its second year of "Your Health First," a multi-year, multi-media public health educational campaign to raise awareness of steps individuals can take to prevent injury and illness.

The "Your Health First" campaign began last winter with messages directed at flu prevention.

The second phase of the campaign, running through mid-September, focuses on the prevention of youth violence. Public service messages, with the theme of "Help Keep Your Kids Safe. Get Them Involved," will appear on television, radio, and public transit in communities across the Commonwealth. Violence prevention has been a public health priority of the Medical Society for more than a decade, beginning with efforts aimed at domestic violence. With incidents of youth violence on the rise, the Medical Society's current campaign will target its messages to parents of early teens - an age when experts believe adult influence is most likely to have an impact.

Robert D. Sege, M.D., a member of the MMS Committee on Violence, Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at The Floating Hospital for Children at New England Medical Center, and a principal advisor to the effort, said "One of the keys to the prevention of youth violence is to view young people as a resource and not a problem. We hope this idea comes through loud and clear in the public service campaign."

Sege and colleagues, working with physicians of the Society's Committee on Public Health and public health and communications staffs, developed a basic message to parents: get your children involved in community activities, because children who are involved in their community have better things to do than engage in violence.

The youth violence effort will include 30-second television announcements airing on commercial broadcast and cable stations in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Holyoke, Brockton, Lowell, and Malden; 60-second radio spots broadcast on 14 stations in the Boston, Worcester, and Springfield markets; and transit cards appearing on public transportation in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester. In all, more than 600 radio spots and 2,000 television spots will be broadcast throughout the two months of the campaign.

Future messages in the "Your Health First" campaign will focus on healthy weight and again on flu prevention. Assistance in the campaign is being provided by the advertising and public relations firm RDW Group of Providence, R.I.

For more information on the campaign, visit

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 18,500 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world's leading medical journals; the Journal Watch family of professional newsletters covering 11 specialties; and AIDS Clinical Care.

Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country.