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Bates Recognized for Efforts to Boost Cancer Prevention

May 14, 2012 | Dagny Stuart

Sheila Bates, M.S.S.W.

Sheila Bates, M.S.S.W., manager of Community Outreach for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has received the 2012 Visionary Award from the Tennessee Public Health Association (TPHA), Middle Tennessee region.

The Visionary Award is presented to individuals or groups who are leaders in the area of prevention.

Bates was recognized for her work as creator and director of the “Cancer Queens! A Cancer Prevention Musical Revue.” The Cancer Queens is a group of about a dozen Tennessee health care educators, many from Vanderbilt, providing health messages in a format known as “edutainment.”

Wearing rhinestone tiaras and feather boas, the women perform a humorous and educational musical revue with song lyrics about cancer prevention set to melodies from well-known songs. The program includes seven cancer prevention and early detection messages.

“While I had the idea for the Cancer Queens and wrote the material, the program wouldn’t have happened and been so successful if VICC and Anne Washburn, associate director of the Office of Patient and Community Education, hadn’t supported and nurtured it. Our dedicated volunteer Cancer Queens have also donated hundreds of hours of their time to the program,” said Bates.

The Cancer Queens have presented their message to more than 6,500 people and have been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their success in promoting cancer risk reduction education.