Iowa AHEC Program, Flying Hippo partner to create national award-winning website

The Iowa Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program, a joint initiative between Des Moines University and The University of Iowa, and Flying Hippo Web Technologies, a Des Moines website design firm, have earned an Outstanding Website WebAward for a project they completed to encourage students to explore health careers.

The Iowa Health Careers website, viewable at, was created to educate teens about the many opportunities in the health care field.

“When people think of health careers, they think about doctors, nurses and so forth,” commented Wendy Gray, Iowa AHEC Program office director. “We want to open young adults’ eyes up to the many other types of careers that they can pursue whether it be as an art therapist, cytotechnologist, dentist, or nursing home administrator.” 

The site was honored for its creative design and unique methods to engage the target audience. A major focus of the Iowa AHEC Program is to engage young adults, especially during their high school years, in health career exploration activities in order to attract health professionals that are committed to the medically underserved in Iowa.

Of AHEC and Flying Hippo’s entry, the judges shared, “Very interactive and entertaining…very engaging. Love the irreverent nature of the design. This is what websites ought to be. BRAVO!”

The WebAwards are sponsored by the Web Marketing Association and are one of the most prestigious awards for website and marketing efforts. Each year, the awards honor the best websites in each of 96 categories. Judges are recognized experts in the interactive industry from around the world, representing 38 countries. Each year, thousands of entries from are entered into the competition.

Winners are selected based on several factors including design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting and ease-of-use. scored 66.5 points out of a maximum of 70 for its entry.

“We are appreciative of the honor,” commented Ryan Parlee, president of Flying Hippo. “It affirms our methods to design and build websites that are creative and engaging.”

The Iowa Health Careers website includes several fun, interactive features, including a peek into a virtual exam room where students can see how specific careers fit into the delivery of health care. A career outlook tool maps the state of Iowa and shows the expected job growth for each career. There is also a quiz that matches visitors with a list of careers that best fit them, based on their answers to a series of questions such as how long they are willing to stay in school and how they feel about exposure to blood!

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About the Iowa AHEC Program
The Iowa Area Health Education Center Program recruits, trains and retains a health professions workforce committed to the medically underserved. With support from Des Moines University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and The University of Iowa College of Nursing, Iowa AHEC combines best-practice methods of workforce development with creative collaborations among school systems, colleges and universities, health professionals, hospitals, health centers, public health venues and other key healthcare stakeholders. This is accomplished by teaching children about health care careers, offering clinical training sites for health profession students and supporting healthcare practitioners with continuing education programs. For more information, visit or call 515-271-1392.

About Flying Hippo
Flying Hippo Web Technologies is a leading technology firm that helps clients create engaging online experiences for those they serve. Their services include website and custom software development, iPhone and Android app development, mobile website development, interactive strategy development, e-branding, e-commerce, viral marketing, social media engagement, and search engine optimization. They work with a variety of clients including publicly traded companies and private businesses, colleges, school districts, non-profits, and small businesses. For more information about Flying Hippo, please visit or call 515-288-5316.

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