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Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network announces recipients of 2018 Award of Excellence

05/18/2018 12:23 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

Minnesota Health Strategy and Communication Network (MHSCN), a professional organization providing networking and educational opportunities for individuals in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications, announced the winners of the 2018 Award of Excellence at the organization’s spring conference in Minneapolis.

The MHSCN Award of Excellence recognizes health care marketing, communications, web-based strategies and public relations providing valuable feedback and recognition for industry experts.

The contest recognizes excellence in these categories.

  • Best Advertising Campaign
  • Best in Print
  • Best in Digital
  • Best in Communications/PR
  • Miscellaneous/PotPourri

“There are some highly talented professionals in Minnesota’s healthcare marketing industry, and this year’s entries were a reflection of the excellent work being done around the state,” said MHSCN 2018 President Katie Johnson of Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, MN. 

“I am always inspired when I see the caliber of work done by my peers. This year was no exception, and they all have my congratulations and admiration,” she added.

2018 Award of Excellence honorees

Best Advertising Campaign - Allina Health for Hometown Care campaign

In 2017, Allina Health’s Marketing/Communications team was charged with supporting the opening of primary care clinics in the distinct regional markets – Isanti, Buffalo, and River Falls, WI.

Each clinic offers different specialty services alongside primary care. And each market has their specific challenges but also commonality in the opportunity to highlight a greater network of care that community members can access by coming to the new clinics. Each clinic is located near one of their hospitals so that patients can access a full continuum of care. All clinics were in growing markets.

Campaigns were designed to reach target audiences where they live, commute, work and play through a mix of online, print and event-based marketing and advertising. The key messages, artwork and specific tactics were customized to address the challenges, opportunities and target audiences of each region.

Best in Print - Constellation for Brink Magazine

Brink magazine offers 22,000 policyholders and other readers through online access insights into the hottest topics and latest trends in patient safety and risk management.

The 2017 Spring issue was a data-filled benchmarking issue entitled, "Improving the Diagnostic Process: Lessons from Malpractice Claims Data,” that was both informative and well-designed for ease of use.

They followed up with a summer issue on "The Opioid Dilemma," focused on this health crisis from the perspective of the physician, hospital, and health systems.

They culminated the year with an issue entitled, "The Call for Telemedicine,” in which we gave an overview, offered an infographic, and shared stories highlighting the latest developments in this emerging health care topic.

Each issue featured original illustration as well as original articles, written by Constellation staff, including their Chief Medical Officer's column, "Meditations on Medicine," and other freelance healthcare writers.

Best in Digital - Minnesota Hospital Association for video campaign featuring CHI St. Gabriel’s Health’s Controlled Substance Care Team

Health systems, hospitals and physicians across Minnesota are on the front lines of the opioid crisis. From 2010 to 2016, the number of opioid-related emergency room visits in Minnesota doubled. Emergency room (ER) visits for mental health and substance abuse have substantially increased compared to overall ER visits.

MHA identified an opportunity to raise awareness about the opioid crisis and highlight local solutions to substance abuse disorder and opioid misuse by profiling the work of a member hospital, CHI St. Gabriel’s Health. Serving the Morrison County population of 35,000 people, CHI St. Gabriel’s Health has helped over 340 patients taper off controlled substances completely through a community and clinic-based program. In a year, that translates to more than 382,512 fewer controlled substance doses entering the community.

MHA shared the story of CHI St. Gabriel’s Health through a series of short and full-length videos interviewing key players in the program - doctors, patients, hospital leaders, state and federal legislators and law enforcement partners. Shorter videos were also created and used as ads on social channels and various third-party websites to drive traffic to the website and the Minnesota’s Hospitals Facebook page. To focus the campaign where it would be most impactful, video advertising was targeted to reach healthcare professionals and issue activists.

Best in Communications/PR - Allina Health Mercy Hospital for 'One Hospital, Two Campuses' campaign

In 2017, the adult inpatient mental health unit moved from the Mercy Hospital campus in Coon Rapids to the Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus in Fridley. The move was part of the "one hospital, two campuses" consolidation for Mercy and Unity hospitals that was designed to strengthen services for patients.

Prior to the move, the Unity campus had been the subject of a "save our hospital" campaign that was founded on and promoted falsehoods about the facility, including that the hospital was closing, was being turned into a mental health-only facility, that mental health patients were going to endanger the neighborhood, and more.

Allina Health launched a public relations campaign to combat these rumors, using a community open house as one of the tactics featuring the new state-of-the-art mental health unit and showcasing other services being offered at the “not-closing” hospital and to reduce the stigma around mental health.

The campaign included invitations, advertisements, news releases, posters, social media and web site messages and partnerships with local mental health organizations. Internal communication vehicles included posters, employee news articles, intranet promotions and in-house display screen messages.

The event itself combined tours and interactive displays and a video on the importance of mental health treatment was also shown and ran on a continuous loop.

Best in Potpourri/Miscellaneous - Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI) for Regenerative Medicine Campaign

As part of CDI’s corporate strategy to offer new procedures to complement its pain management services, Center for Diagnostic Imaging added Regenerative Medicine Services to their St. Louis Park center.

Regenerative Medicine uses a patient’s own biologic components to help the body heal itself. A referral is not required for this service, but engaging referral sources in educating their patients around this service was identified as an objective. 

The product launch was targeted at physicians and patients.

  • The initial plan was focused on establishing an online web presence and digital pay-per-click advertising and outreach to key physician groups that refer to us for other services and have patients who could benefit from this service.
  • A fully integrated campaign was developed with physician and patient education materials, in-store signage and an online consultation request form. Videos were used for patient education.

The next phase will be to partner with referring providers and do a larger scale advertising campaign aimed at generating consumer awareness of this service for those suffering from spine and joint ailments.

2018 honorable mentions

  • Best in Advertising - Cuyuna Regional Medical Center for their “If things go south, you don’t have to…” campaign
  • Best in Print - Allina Health for Breast Cancer: A Survivor’s Guide to Hope and Endurance
  • Best in Digital - FirstLight Health System for Outsmarting Preventable Head Injuries
  • Best in Communications/PR - Inprela for their work with 3M to help bring vascular access care and bloodstream infection prevention to the forefront
  • Best in Miscellaneous/PotPourri - Allina Health Mercy Hospital for their Commitment to Care, Whole Person Care video.


The Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network (MHSCN), is a nonprofit, membership organization. MHSCN provides networking and educational opportunities designed to improve the professional skills of those in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications. Learn more at mhscn.com.

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