For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Marcia Brown-Machen , Public Health, (510) 981-5309

PhotoVoice Exhibit Sheds Light on Tobacco's Influence

Berkeley, California (Thursday, May 22, 2008) - An image of a "no-smoking" sign at a bus stop littered with cigarette butts is only one of the many riveting photographs of a larger "PhotoVoice" exhibit currently installed in three Berkeley locations.

African-American youth and Asian-American students from the University of California Berkeley used photography to expose how tobacco undermines the health of their communities. The "PhotoVoice" Project will be on display until June 30 at both the UC Berkeley University Health Services Tang Center and the West Berkeley Senior Center, and at the North Berkeley Senior Center from June 7-30.

What: PhotoVoice Project
When: Now Through June 30
Where:    University Health Services Tang Center
    Address : 2222 Bancroft Way, Berkeley 94720 
    Hours: Monday through Friday -- 8 am through 5 pm
    West Berkeley Senior Center
    Address: 1900 Sixth Street, Berkeley 94710
    Hours:  Monday through Friday -- 8 am through 5 pm  
    North Berkeley Senior Center (June 7-June 30 )
    Address: 1901 Hearst Ave., Berkeley 94709
    Hours of Facility :Monday through Friday -- 8 am through 5 pm 

With the PhotoVoice method, individuals become a part of community change by combining photography and personal stories, providing a graphic depiction of community issues and illustrating their vision for the future. African-American youth from South and West Berkeley and Asian-American Cal students were trained in tobacco prevention and photographic and narrative techniques to capture images and tell the story of how tobacco affects their communities.

Nineteen percent of all Berkeley deaths can be attributed to the use of tobacco. The 2007 Berkeley Health Status Report (1) has compelling evidence that South and West Berkeley residents suffer extraordinarily higher rates of tobacco-related disease and asthma than residents of other areas of the city.

The images illustrated everyday realities in their photos, each accompanied by a personal narrative explaining the photo's relevance.

"Photovoice can act as a unique framework to better understand how tobacco impacts specific populations," explained Joe Griffin from University Health Services at UC Berkeley, who coordinated the project along with Katherine Brown and Meredith Glaser.

The exhibit is a visual medium to enlighten all Berkeley residents about the effects of the tobacco industry's disproportionate advertising in low-income communities, with aims to guide policy direction for positive change. "It's a great opportunity to educate others on how the tobacco industry continues to influence us, whether we like it or not, and what we can do to fight back," says Meredith Glaser, a Tobacco Prevention Project Coordinator and UCB public health grad student.

PhotoVoice was a collaborative project conducted by the City of Berkeley, HHS Dept., Public Health Division and the University of California, Berkeley University Health Services.  For further information about the PhotoVoice project, quit smoking information, no-smoking signs and other tobacco prevention projects, contact Marcia Brown-Machen at (510) 981-5309.