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Danielle Ashley Group wins coveted Silver Anvil Award from Public Relations Society

(June 18, 2014) Marketing agency Danielle Ashley Group proved that it has weathered the marketing storm by taking home the prestigious Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America during a recent ceremony in New York City.
Danielle Ashley Group, Inc. is a minority- and female-owned, full-service integrated marketing agency with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, and was the only African-American, woman-owned agency represented at the awards event.
The agency won the award in the Public Service (Partnerships) category for its work in developing, executing and publicizing the First Ladies Health Initiative in both Chicago and in Los Angeles.  This was the first-ever Silver Anvil Award for the boutique agency, located across from Millennium Park on Chicago's pristine Michigan Avenue.
While numerous business owners permanently closed their doors due to the economy, which in recent years has been particularly harsh to marketing agencies, DAG's President Tracey Alston (pictured) says she is optimistic about the future.
"Our win at the Silver Anvils demonstrates that smaller agencies can and do provide quality public relations and promotional services and that our industry by and large continues to understand this reality," stated Alston.
The agency conceptualized the initiative about 10 years with John Gremer, the director of community relations for Walgreens. The program includes an annual luncheon, during which more than 150 pastors' wives meet to hear information from health experts about diseases that are disproportionately high in African-American communities.
The initiative culminates with an annual health day hosted by the pastors' wives. Local residents are invited to undergo free tests for chronic illnesses including HIV, diabetes, high blood pressure and breast cancer.  The last health days in Chicago and Los Angeles each drew more than 40 churches and an average of 20,000 individuals seeking free health tests. Approximately 100,000 people have been tested over the life of the initiative.
"This program is a winning scenario for everyone involved," according to Gremer, who is based in Walgreens corporation's Deerfield office. "Our success is in knowing that our work has resulted in customers receiving the information that they need to be able to make important decisions about their health."
Added Alston: "The success of our First Ladies Heath Initiative represents what can happen when you bring together the coalition of the willing to see a need in our urban communities and develop a solution."
Although the initiative is sponsored primarily by Walgreens, DAG won the recognition in the Partnership sub-category due to its coordinators' ability to attract health experts from a wide variety of health organizations to voluntarily perform the screenings at the churches.
A partial list of the more than 100 health partners includes the American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Susan G. Komen, Rush University Medical Center, Access Health, Abbott, Cook County Health & Hospital Systems, Illinois Department of Public Health, Cedars-Sinai, Watts Health, City of Hope, Molina Healthcare, AltaMed, HeathCare Partners and the California Department of Public Health.
Currently in its sixth year in Chicago, the First Ladies Health Initiative was extended to Los Angeles three years ago.  Various celebrities have been recruited as ambassadors for the program, including TV's "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd.
The next First Ladies Health Days are scheduled to take place in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014 and in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 12, 2015.  Visit for more information.

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