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Three members of East Central University's Communication Department formed the nucleus of a panel discussion at the annual Central States Communication Association convention in Madison, Wis. The panel focused on Rotary International's efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.

The panel was developed and organized by Dr. Robert Greenstreet, chair and professor of communication at ECU. He also moderated the program and provided concluding comments.

The discussion began with a brief presentation by Hugh Beall who was told in his late teens that he would not survive polio. That was 55 years ago. Dr. Melissa Beall of the University of Northern Iowa joined him in discussing the impact of his polio on their lives.

Carol Pandak, manager of the Rotary International PolioPlus Program, discussed the history of the Herculean effort to eradicate polio. The entire Western Hemisphere, Europe, Australia and Antarctica have been declared polio free, she said.

Parts of Asia and Africa continue to report new cases of the disease. By the time polio is eradicated, individual Rotarians will have donated well over $800 million toward the effort, Greenstreet said. Rotary has also enlisted several governments, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Education Fund, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the struggle.

Dr. Arlie Daniel, ECU Adolph Linscheid distinguished teaching professor of communication, focused on Rotary's efforts to adapt to the needs of divergent cultures. In Nigeria, for example, it was necessary to involve Islamic clergy in the effort to immunize children. Rotary also found an Islamic pharmaceutical company to manufacture the vaccine, he said.

Rebecca Gatz, ECU instructor of mass communication, discussed Rotary International's efforts to provide support for local Rotary clubs wishing to publicize the PolioPlus program. She showed two articles from the Ada News.

The panel was sponsored jointly by the Organizational Communication and Health Communication Interest Groups. The convention theme was "Communication: an Activist's Tool." As the panel focused on the role of communication in facilitating the Rotary International PolioPlus program, both groups found the panel appropriate.

Melissa Beall and Daniel are past presidents of the CSCA. Daniel, Pandak and Greenstreet are past presidents of their Rotary clubs. Daniel and Greenstreet are multiple Rotary International Paul Harris Fellows. Greenstreet is also a Rotary International Benefactor.

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