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No Gobbledygook Award 10

The White House
Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release
June 4, 1999

Vice President Gore Praises FDA Employee for Publishing Plain Language Information on Women’s Health

Washington, DC — Vice President Gore today awarded Laurel Eu, a Public Affairs Specialist in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Los Angeles District, his monthly “Plain Language” award for her efforts to increase the number of Asian-Pacific women who receive cancer screenings.

In response to the low rate of women who receive cancer screenings in Asian-Pacific communities in California, Eu—with the help from representatives of local ethnic groups, nurses, doctors, and other health care specialists—developed a simple, easy-to-read version of an existing, wordy pamphlet on mammograms and pap smears. The pamphlet includes pre-punched cards suitable for use in a rotary index card file, providing room for health caregiver’s names and numbers and suggested schedules of health exams.

Eu then worked with local communities to translate the pamphlet into seven Asian-Pacific languages: Cambodian, Thai, Samoan, Vietnamese, Laotian, Korean, and Chinese.

“This is a great way to provide service to minority populations on a serious women’s health issue,” Vice President Gore said. “We need to ensure that important health and safety information is available to everyone and in plain language.”

“This innovative brochure makes clear what women can and should do to reduce their risk of cancer,” said Jane E. Henney, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs. “It also shows what creativity and clear writing can accomplish.”

Today’s award builds on an Executive Memorandum the Vice President announced on June 1, 1998. The memorandum directed all executive departments and agencies to:

  1. Write any new document that tells the public how to get a benefit or comply with a requirement in plain language by October 1, 1998;
  2. Write all new government regulations in plain language by January 1, 1999; and
  3. Revise all existing letters and notices into plain language by 2002.