Bradley Student Wins Prestigious Prize for Bridging Gaps in Health Care

December 23, 2020

Recently interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, one Bradley University senior is turning heads and winning awards as she bridges gaps in her Indiana community.

A new statewide program in Indiana, called ‘My Healthy Baby,’ has helped the state decrease infant mortality rates by increasing education, outreach and health care access to pre and post-natal mothers. While all progress is positive progress, the program is, unfortunately, lacking coverage in many high-risk counties, counties that have a low socioeconomic status. Furthermore, the program is not available for mothers insured with Medicaid. To help mothers in need of education and resources, Alexis Brown, a Bradley public relations student, launched her own campaign called 'Her Empowered Voice.'

This campaign started as a senior project toward graduation for Brown but would soon lead to much more. While taking her Bradley classes remotely from Indiana, Brown supported her ambitious endeavor with in-depth research. She found that Non-Hispanic Black women were recipients of Medicaid more than any other racial group. Therefore, if a Black woman were to become pregnant in Indiana today, she would, statistically, most likely not be eligible for 'My Healthy Baby.' This knowledge gave Brown a specific direction for her campaign.

Her first step was combining forces with HealthCall, LLC, located in Crown Point, IN. She chose to partner with HealthCall, LLC because of its presence in the medical field and its location. Crown Point resides in Lake County, IN, which includes a number of high-risk cities.

Through this teamwork, 'Her Empowered Voice' was able to host an online awareness forum that featured a local OB/GYN. The campaign also reached several mothers in need through social media and provided them with a number of resources and contacts on its website. After exposure to this campaign, of those surveyed, there was an over 25% increase in the belief that the individual's health concerns mattered to their physicians. It's statistics like that that encourage Alexis Brown to keep up this work even after she graduates in May.

"One of the biggest things I have learned during this campaign was to trust my instincts and have confidence in myself. By that I mean, believing in myself and following what I felt was the right thing to do. Academically, this campaign has taught me to utilize all the knowledge that I have learned at Bradley. Learning through research about the issue and how it affects society at large helped me think creatively on how to solve the problem."

That creativity and drive earned Brown The Ebeling PR-ize™, an award given to the public relations student(s) with the best campaign of the semester.

The Ebeling PR-ize™ was conceived by Bradley alumnus Chuck Ebeling and faculty member Dr. Ron Koperski in 2004. It is a competitive program among Bradley’s senior public relations students in their capstone course. Students form an “agency” and are responsible for planning and implementing a real, coordinated public relations campaign on behalf of a local business and a compatible community service organization. Campaign submissions and judging criteria are based on the nationally recognized Silver Anvil Award competition administered by the Public Relations Society of America.