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Why I Get My Mammogram

Gold Standard  Employer: Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Why I Get My Mammogram

Every October Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals,Inc. conducts a four week breast cancer awareness campaign on our Ridgefield, Connecticut campus.  It runs the entire month to build momentum and awareness of Nation Breast Cancer Awareness month. We kick things off on October 1st with educational messages and end the month with mobile mammography screenings during the last week.  The overarching goals of the annual campaign are to educate and empower employees (both men and women) about breast health and the importance of getting screened.   

Prior to the campaign, we circulate a survey designed to identify factors that motivate women to get screened and factors that discourage them from getting screened.  We adjust our education messages to address barriers and highlight motivating factors (de-identified) in our marketing.  The most common barrier reported was age. Specifically that they were not old enough to need a baseline mammogram or annual mammogram.  This suggests that a greater number of female employees under 35 years of age took the survey than in the past.  A few women reported 1) fear – finding out something is wrong; 2) embarrassment - uncomfortable exposing breasts to a stranger; 3) the screening is too painful and 4) not understanding what happens during a mammogram.  

We created a poster from the motivational reasons to get a mammogram and shared it with employees in a mass email and posted it on our wellness blog. Last year’s campaign was titled “Get Your Pink On” and it had three simple messages for men and women: 1) create awareness by reading and sharing our weekly breast health facts, 2) show support by wearing pink and submitting a team picture or selfie for the photo gallery, and 3) take action by getting screened (if appropriate) and encouraging others to get screened. 

We kick off our annual campaign by launching an internal campaign web page to all employees and sending our first educational breast health message.  We sent a new message each week of the campaign. Messages included in addendum.  In addition to our communications to all employees, we also send a personal mailing to all previous onsite mobile mammography participants.  Last year’s mailing included educational materials, a reminder card to schedule their mammogram and various “pink gifts” like a pink pen, lanyard, and key chain.  

We understand that discussing breast cancer awareness can be overwhelming and scary for some people so we also incorporated some more lighthearted ways to engage people but still share the important messages. One fun activity we did was by holding a “create your own pink tie-dye t-shirt.” We hosted events on the lawn of each building on campus.  The tie-dye events provided a unique opportunity to engage and educate employees in person.  For example, we brought our educational breast cancer examination model to the event. Our breast model has four 4 different types of lumps that simulate typical tumor growth.  We encouraged event participants to look and palpate the breast model, and read the educational card . Each employee that attended the tie-dye event also received educational materials, a flyer about the mobile mammography bus, and “pink gifts”.   

We are also very concerned to make sure our efforts are working to make a difference so we survey our employees and work to get as much feedback and direction as possible.  Many employees asked that we offer the tie-dye event again this year.