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  • 10/04/2017 9:33 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    As healthcare marketers head into the busiest season of the year, we all know too well the panic that can set in while you work to get projects done on time. 

    No fear… Bolger, a longstanding MHSCN sponsor, has a few tips to help you get through with your sanity intact.

    Getting started

    When beginning any project, make sure to engage your vendor partners early to help with strategy. Often your partners will have ideas to make the process as stress-free as possible. Ask when deliverables from you are needed to achieve your desired due date. 

    When managing multiple projects be sure to communicate project priorities, what goes first and what can go last. Be clear about the due date for each project.

    Let’s talk files

    Something as simple as naming files the same way you refer to them avoids confusion and will save time. If your piece mails, name your mailing list using the same naming convention as the collateral pieces it belongs with. Also, use an item number on every piece of collateral in a campaign to limit errors. 

    Don’t get stuck with the back and forth artwork debacle, provide the correct file type for your project. It is recommended to use JPEG, PNG or GIF for online campaigns, high resolution PDFs or packaged native files for print campaigns, and MP4 or MOV for video campaigns—always confirm the best file type for your project with your partner.

    Take the frustration out of mailing

    When designing a mail piece consult with your partner in advance to insure the mail panel is formatted properly and the piece meets postal standards. Determine upfront whether you will mail first class or marketing/standard mail, ask about the advantages of each, and ask about any special promotional options offered by the USPS. 

    Add your name and address to the final mail list so you receive the finished piece in your mailbox.

    Lastly, those pesky proofs and final details

    Be sure to review the proofs you receive for all your projects carefully. This is your last chance to make corrections before the project is complete. 

    Communicate any edits clearly and confirm if additional proofs are needed for final approval. And provide all required purchase order numbers, cost center or billing codes needed to insure the final invoice goes through your accounts payable department just as smoothly as your successful campaign. Then relax, put your feet up, and enjoy a well-deserved break!

    Helpful tips from a MHSCN sponsor

    These helpful tips are from Bolger. The St. Paul-based resource creates innovative product solutions that unify the power of print and digital communication and is a sustaining sponsor of MHSCN.

    Learn about sponsorship

  • 08/29/2017 4:15 PM | Deleted user
    photo of bike path crossroads

    I’ve been on quite a few bike rides lately (more often than last summer, I’m happy to report). On my rides through the parks and trails of the Twin Cities, I often come to a crossroads.

    The path splits off in two directions, and I have to choose which way to go. If it’s an unfamiliar route, I can’t be sure what I’ll encounter if I go one way vs. the other. This experience got me thinking about where MHSCN is going as an organization.

    As a board, we began working on a new strategic plan earlier this year. We realized that we needed to spend some time in thoughtful reflection and exploration of how we are living out MHSCN’s mission, vision and values. Are we meeting the needs of our members and delivering value? Is the organization still relevant in these changing times? There are many other activities and organizations competing for the time, attention, and resources of Minnesota’s health care communications, marketing, and public relations professionals.

    We’re exploring different options for the organization, and no matter how much we research them, we can’t know exactly what will happen if we choose one path over another. If you’re just on a bike ride, it’s not such a big deal. Chances are good it’ll be pleasant either way; maybe the path will take you to a different place than what you anticipated, but that’s OK. It can be a fun challenge to figure out those little surprises! 

    When it’s an organization like MHSCN, with a long history and established traditions, it’s a bit scarier – but also exciting. We have a strong board, and I’m confident we’ll “steer the ship” to a good new place. And that’s where you come in. It’s time to bring our members – and other stakeholders – into the discussion.

    Where do you see new opportunities for MSHCN? Are there activities or services we should add, or maybe some we should discontinue? If you’re a former member who hasn’t renewed, or someone who attends the occasional event but hasn’t ever joined, why not? We’d love to get your perspective.

    As our work on the strategic plan progresses, we’ll have a more formal way for you to share your input soon. For now, I encourage you to send me an email with your thoughts on how we can be more valuable to you and your professional goals. 

    Change is never easy, but for those of us in health care, it seems to be inevitable. We might as well learn to embrace it! Join me – and MHSCN – on the ride!

    Mary Beth Schwartz

    Mary Beth Schwartz

    MHSCN President

  • 08/08/2017 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    Have you been considering a return to school to enhance your education and advance your career?  The MS in Health Care Communications Program at the University of St. Thomas just announced a substantial scholarship opportunity for their cohort which begins at the end of August. 

    What's even better?  There’s no exam to take to enter the program – just an application.

    Because of the "fast track" on this scholarship fund, people need to take these steps: 

    1. Apply to the program.
    2. Email the faculty director, Dr. Mike Porter at mcporter@stthomas.edu. In the message, indicate you are interested in being considered for the Health Care Communicator Scholarship.

    Dr. Porter will use the data from the application to figure out distributions. He says, "There is money to offer up to 8 scholarships."

    See what other students are saying about the program:

  • 06/23/2017 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    Katie Johnson is president-elect of the MHSCN Board of DirectorsYesterday, it was the nurses' strike. Today it’s measles, opioids and heroin. Tomorrow will certainly bring another hot topic in healthcare that’s anything but glitzy or fun to promote.

    I’d personally prefer to spend my time creating a great joint care campaign, writing a news release about our latest award or interviewing a doctor for our weekly radio show. Yet, like so many other healthcare professionals, we chose this profession of marketing/communications/strategy with at least a hint of desire to “do good,” to make a difference. The opportunity to use our gifts & talents to communicate effectively about difficult topics is where our contribution to making healthcare better in our community and our country really counts.

    Recently, Lake Region Healthcare hosted a “Community Conversation on Opioid & Heroin Abuse." It featured Fargo market WDAY-TV Station Reporter Kevin Wallevand who created the documentary “Addicted”. His work on the topic is a perfect example of the power of personal storytelling to bring deeper understanding and spur action.

    The second featured speaker of the evening was Dr. Kurt DeVine of CHI St. Gabriel’s Health in Little Falls, Minn. The statistics he shared about the depth of the issue in this central Minnesota town were staggering. What stood out to me about Dr. DeVine’s message was the power of data to give us context, to help us create a plan and to help us measure our successes.

    Hmm. Storytelling and data collection. This is our wheelhouse. Rather than shy away from controversial topics or dread difficult messaging, I’m working on embracing the not-so-pretty parts of my job.

    Here are a couple things I’ve found helpful in my work.

    1. Being proactive. People in the middle of an issue often don’t realize until it’s too late that they need our expertise. I’m communicating with department heads, administrators and event planners frequently now to ensure they know our capacity to provide them with a full communication plan when they need it. From identifying and reaching key stakeholders and target audiences to press releases, media coverage and key messaging, I want them to know they have the Mar/Comm team in their back pocket at a moment’s notice.  
    2. Being attentive. It’s not my job to know what a doctor knows about the opioid crisis, but it is my job to help doctors, my CEO, and media contacts understand the topic at hand in order for the most effective interviews, articles and posts to emerge. In one day alone this past week, the MHA “In the News”  feed had not one, not two, but three stories on the Opioid crisis:

    I certainly don’t read them all word for word, but I’m working on paying attention to trending articles to give me both perspective and credibility when called on to address our organization’s stance.

    Having a grasp on the opioid crisis wasn’t on my list of things I hoped to accomplish in my career. Feeling like I made a difference by helping to wage a battle against it in my community definitely is.

    Katie Johnson, MHSCN President Elect

  • 05/19/2017 1:19 PM | Deleted user

    As marketing and communications professionals, we're all comfortable introducing ourselves to new people, right? Or does the idea of describing your professional self to someone new cause you to break out in hives, or at least decline that upcoming event because you're worried you won't know what to say? 

    I think that just because we know our way around a website, can whip up a press release or plan a marketing campaign with ease, it doesn't automatically make us masters of all interpersonal communications. So what's a self-respecting communications professional who knows the importance of networking to do?

    I'd like to suggest a two-part strategy:

    First, learn from others who can help you think about and prepare your introduction ahead of time. I came across this LinkedIn post: 5 Ways to Introduce Yourself Perfectly in 20 Words or Less. This down-to-earth method frames the problem and offers practical ways to think about the best words to use in an initial conversation. 

    Second, practice your new words by attending at least one of MHSCN's upcoming networking events. They're informal, which makes it easy to talk casually with one another. And we usually include some fun icebreaker questions or activities to help get the conversation going!

    I'm going to bone up on my introduction and take it for a test spin at our June 8 networking event. How about you?

    Mary Beth Schwartz

    MHSCN President

  • 04/27/2017 11:11 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    Topics, Presentations and Speakers

    Don’t Just Send a Message. Engage.

    Asia Zmuda, Public Affairs Manager, Mayo Clinic Health System

    Employee engagement is critical to any organization, especially in the midst of continuous change. Mayo Clinic’s community practices in Southeast Minnesota use a unique combination of employee forums, listening sessions, leadership rounding, e-mail and internal publications to keep employees informed and engaged. Employees need more than just a message! Employees in many of Mayo’s community practices also make up a significant portion of the patient base and local population. Learn how these internal communication strategies also overlap patient and community engagement.

    Asia Zmuda, Public Affairs Manager, Mayo Clinic Health System, manages internal and external communication and marketing for several of Mayo Clinic’s community practices in Southeast Minnesota. Prior to joining Mayo Clinic 10 years ago, she served as a reporter and anchor for KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minn. Asia earned a Bachelor of Journalism in Broadcast News from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., and a Master of Arts degree in Strategic Communication Management from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn.

    Take Your Brand from So-So to Mojo

    Rob Dalton, Owner, Dalton Brand Catalyst

    It happens to all brands. They get stuck. Advertising loses its edge. Marketing struggles to generate qualified leads. Sales presentations become a drag. Employees forget what makes their company exciting and relevant. Customers stop talking about them. Ugh!  -- Rob Dalton gets that. He will show us how to obliterate common marketing obstacles, and how to shine a light on the elements that make our brands awesome. Rob will walk us through an actual Brand Catalyst case study and share branding tips we can use immediately. 

    Rob Dalton, owner of Dalton Brand Catalyst, has a career that spans 40 years and includes creative leadership positions at advertising agencies Young & Rubicam (New York), Cole & Webber (Seattle) and his own branding and go-to-market strategy firm, Dalton Brand Catalyst (Minneapolis). Rob honed his craft at Fallon (Minneapolis) and has won numerous industry awards. He is the only person to win the Minnesota Best of Show advertising award twice. Rob travels the country solving critical branding and strategic problems, primarily for B2B marketers. He has the rare ability to meld consumer insight, company culture, product benefits and creative “pixie dust” to create powerful brand foundations and unexpected, creative solutions that drive business. His collaborative approach and nurturing demeanor have earned him the title “Brand Therapist” among many of his clients. 

    HealthNewsReview.org: First-ever Systematic Analysis of Health Care PR

    Gary Schwitzer, Publisher, HealthNewsReview.org

    For 11 years, HealthNewsReview.org has used systematic criteria to review more than 2,300 news stories by leading news organizations if they include claims about health care interventions. In the past two years, the organization began reviewing health care PR news releases as well - about 350 so far. There has never been a project like this in the US, and it is based right here at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, where publisher Gary Schwitzer is an Adjunct Associate Professor.  This session will explain the history, the reasoning, the approach and the data,as well as offer some teaching examples.

    Gary Schwitzer, Publisher, HealthNewsReview.org, has specialized in health care journalism for 40 years and currently publishes the HealthNewsReview.org site, the only daily systematic review of such media messages in the United States. Gary also worked in television news for 15 years and was founding editor-in-chief of MayoClinic.com. He also taught health journalism and media ethics at the University of Minnesota and now has an adjunct associate professor appointment in the university’s School of Public Health. The American Medical Writers Association honored Schwitzer with one of the organization’s highest honors, the McGovern Award for preeminent contributions to medical communication, and the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation named him one of 25 Shared Decision Making Champions. 

    From Apathy to Action: Motivating Ohioans to Register as Organ, Eye and Tissue Donors

    Amy Dawson, APR, Executive Vice President, Healthcare Practice Lead, Fahlgren Mortine Agency

    An in-depth case study of Fahlgren Mortine’s work with Donate Life Ohio will include strategies and tactics to address myths and misperceptions about organ donation. Amy will also talk about the advantages of an integrated approach to campaign development, and how paid, earned, shared and owned media work together to achieve measurable results.

    Amy Dawson, APR, Executive Vice President, Healthcare Practice Lead, Fahlgren Mortine Agency,is an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience. She and her team have worked with a wide range of health care brands, including OhioHealth, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, MedStar Health, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Donate Life Ohio, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and Cardinal Health. Her team’s work has been recognized by numerous professional organizations locally, regionally and nationally. Amy was recently named by Columbus Business First as a 2016 Person to Watch in Healthcare. She’s a member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, the PRSA Health Academy and sits on the boards of The Arts and Autism Institute and The Community Shelter Board. Respected by colleagues, clients and peers, Amy is best known for her ability to lead integrated teams that connect well with clients.

    Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing & How to Drive Measurable Online Behaviors

    Craig Baillie, Partner/Account Director, and Christian Betancourt, Head of Digital, Brave New Media

    The digital marketing landscape is ever evolving. From new platforms to changing consumer preferences, today’s communications and marketing professionals have their hands full. Learn about emerging trends in digital marketing and how organizations can harness these trends to drive meaningful and measurable results.

    Craig Baillie currently serves as Partner and Account Director at Brave New Media, a Minneapolis-based digital media agency. He has more than 22 years of experience as a web and print designer, having worked on a wide variety of marketing communications programs. In his current role, Craig manages the creative and technology aspects of client campaigns and initiatives, bringing a strong design and detail-oriented approach to clients across various industries. Craig holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago.

    Christian Betancourt is Head of Digital at Brave New Media, a Minneapolis-based digital media agency. In this role, he helps clients across various industries develop strategic, data-driven marketing strategies that help achieve desired business outcomes. As leader of the agency’s digital practice, Christian manages talented teams working on all aspects of digital marketing, including social media, search engine optimization, paid media strategy, e-mail marketing, lead generation and analytics. Before joining Brave New Media, Christian held public relations, marketing and digital roles at Best Buy, Thomson Reuters and Securian Financial Group. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Business Administration in brand management from the University of St. Thomas.

  • 04/26/2017 3:27 PM | Ryan Davenport (Administrator)
    1.       Meet witty, liberal arts colleagues who probably enjoyed working on yearbook committee, hated math and decided not to go to law school after college.

    2.       Collect business cards from interesting new contacts, file in double-secret folder, follow contacts on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, and eventually discover the shared joy of rooftop lawn bowling.1

    3.       Don’t “get” marketing? Attend a conference, sit at table with marketing pros, pass water pitcher, accept offer of bread, earn genuine “cross-functional” experience, note on resume.2

    4.       Uncomfortable with PR’s overuse of the word ‘leverage’? Leverage your fear of leverage in frank conversation with supportive peers during judgement-free social hour.

    5.       Free Wi-Fi at MHSCN conferences allows you to check work email or tout new knowledge on social media while colleagues back at the office wonder what’s gotten into you.

    6.       Exclusive access to online membership directory refreshingly includes no swipe left or right feature.

    7.       Re-cast worst nightmare work blunders as helpful tips to share at fabulous MHSCN networking events. (Example: “Carl, did you know Spellcheck won’t catch misspelled news release headlines written in all caps? It’s true!)3

    8.       Proudly announce to Mom and Dad that through MHSCN, you’ve learned how to meaningfully engage KOL’s, bloggers and other key stakeholders by leveraging geo-targeted, multi-channel integrated marketing and PR campaigns that align with and support your brand proposition, yielding dynamic and actionable outcomes.

    9.       Three words: Stop. Career. Stagnation.

    10.   Love to proofread and edit for flow and style? Mark up tiresome “Top 10 reasons to join MHSCN” document with red pen and submit to ryan@davenpr.com. Wait for sarcastic thank-you response.


    1.        Discovering shared joy of rooftop lawn bowling not typical; networking results may vary.
    2.        Cross-functional experience typically involves meaningful collaborations with disparate work teams; always be truthful on your resume.
    3.        Worst nightmare work blunder example cited may or may not necessarily be drawn from author’s actual experience.

  • 03/29/2017 3:43 PM | Deleted user

    Let's face it, it's not always easy to make time for professional development. As communications professionals, we always seem to be doing more with less, trying to get the work done with fewer and fewer resources. Independent consultants aren't immune either ­- clients expect a lot, for the lowest possible budget. Our personal lives are jam-packed as well, leaving little time for "extra" work-related activities. Yes, professional development often seems expendable.

    Before the doom and gloom gets too thick, I'm pleased to share that MHSCN is offering an opportunity to get a lot of bang for your professional development buck.

    Our spring conference on April 27 offers not only an excellent, diverse program that will keep you on top of your game, it also features our annual awards ceremony, which is always a good way to see what the "best of the best" are doing and figure out what you can learn from them. It's also a great way to catch up with your peers, meet potential new clients and vendors, and maybe even get precious "team time" with your coworkers if you can get away together.

    Membership + Conference = Great Value

    In addition, this year we're offering a conference plus membership special that enables you to not only get the discounted MHSCN member conference rate, it also gives you a discount on your membership dues.

    Here's how:

    1. Go to Membership.
    2. Select the "MHSCN Member" level on the membership form, and fill in the application.
    3. In the discount code field, enter MHSCN2017. When you hit "next" you'll see that the 20% discount has been applied to the membership fee.
    4. Once your membership has been activated, you can sign up for spring conference and save with the members-only rate.

    So whether you're overdue for renewal, or have never been a member, it's a great time to take advantage of this package deal that will give an extra boost to your professional development as you take advantage of members-only programming and discounted events for an entire year!

    Act now to take advantage of this rare opportunity to make the math work in your favor! I look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 27.

  • 03/06/2017 3:00 PM | Deleted user

    The MHSCN Award of Excellence recognizes excellence in health care marketing, communications, web-based strategies and public relations. Please submit your entries by Friday, March 17, 2017.

    MHSCN member rates are:

    • 1 entry – $50
    • 2 entries – $90
    • 3 entries – $125

    Non-members pay $75 per entry.

    Winners will be announced at our spring conference Thursday, April 27, 2017.

    Submit your entries today!

    Any questions?

    Email an award co-chair:

    Learn more about the MHSCN Award of Excellence.

  • 02/17/2017 2:10 PM | Deleted user

    Please save Thursday, April 27, 2017 for the MHSCN Spring Conference at the International Market Square in Minneapolis.

    Details on our excellent speakers will soon come your way.

    Get more details and register today.

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