Public Health Data Becomes Compelling Poster Series at Capitol

Students from the Yale School of Public Health collaborated with colleagues at the School of Art to develop original public health posters – using graphic design and stark statistics to focus on a number of critical public health challenges. The posters created through this unique collaborative effort are on display at the State Capitol’s lower concourse adjacent to the Legislative Office Building, arranged by the Connecticut Office of Health Reform and Innovation. A total of 28 students (14 pairs) participated in the inaugural project, which seeks to provoke awareness, stimulate thought and change behavior through the use of visually powerful posters to educate and motivate broad sectors of society about some of today’s pressing health issues, such as obesity, breast cancer screening, self-respect and child development.

Among the statistics and information highlighted in the posters:

  • The increase in size of food portions between 1982 and 2012 (5x larger)
  • The difference in breast cancer survival rates with early detection (30% vs. 97%)
  • Food alternatives to daily for lactose intolerant individuals
  • 80% of blindness is preventable

The idea for “The Art of Public Health” was conceived a year ago, according to the Yale News, at the conclusion of a course taught at the Yale School of Public Health by assistant professor Catherine Yeckel. She challenged the class to apply and translate theoretical scientific knowledge into a public health campaign to educate the public on a specific health topic.

The student teams met for one-on-one sessions together and with faculty mentors throughout the academic year, during which they discussed their particular health issue and how it might be captured and represented visually. Julian Bittiner, a critic in the Department of Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art, guided the visual communication process.

“The Art of Public Health” may go on tour following the State Capitol exhibition in Hartford, which followed a similar exhibition on the Yale campus in New Haven earlier this year.