About Us

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.

MHSCN Board of Directors

Contact a member of our volunteer board about any questions you may have about membership, events or sponsorships.

Interested in board or committee membership? Email Katie Johnson

Paul Fiore


Paul Fiore

Marketing Manager - Executive Health

Mayo Clinic

Email Paul 


Cassi Chrzanowski

Marketing and Communications Manager

Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital

Email Cassi

photo of Katie Johnson

Past President

Katie Johnson

Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Lake Region Healthcare

Email Katie

photo of Christy Vaillant


Christy Vaillant

Chief Communications Strategist and Owner

Ampersand Communications

Email Christy

photo of Shelly Warnke


Shelly L. Warnke

Shelly L. Warnke and Associates, LLC

Email Shelly

Membership, Communications and Recognition Committee

photo of Cory Docken

Cory Docken

Director of Client Service

Bluespire Marketing

Email Cory

photo of Stphanie Holden

Stephanie Holden

Chief Marketing and Development Officer

River's Edge Hospital

Email Stephanie

Emily Lowther

Communications Director

Minnesota Hospital Association

Email Emily

Member Engagement and Professional Development Committee

photo of Ryan Davenport

Ryan Davenport

Owner, Public Relations Consultant


Email Ryan

photo of Brenda Jaye

Brenda Jaye

Communications Leader


Email Brenda

Margo O'Hara

Senior Director


Email Margo

Minnesota Hospital Association Liaison

Jenny Sanislo

Division Assistant, Information Services

Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA)

Email Jenny

photo of Rebecca Nelson


Rebecca Kindall Nelson

Email Rebecca


The purpose of this non-profit organization is to:

  1. Foster awareness and understanding of health care strategic planning, marketing and public relations projects, programs and activities.
  2. Provide educational opportunities designed to improve professional skills of the health care strategic planning, marketing and public relations practitioner.
  3. Improve the image and credibility of health care strategic planning, public relations and marketing practitioners.


The Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network (MHSCN), Inc. will be the state’s trusted and preferred organization for professional development and best practices in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications.


The Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network (MHSCN), Inc. provides networking and educational opportunities designed to improve the professional skills of health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications.


  • MHSCN takes its “mission” (what we call ourselves) to heart. We have always tried to go beyond the minimal to provide a very high level of services to our members – to be very “value-added.”
  • MHSCN is inclusive. We cover a lot of territory and welcome to our network everyone sharing our interests. We work hard to offer our members many ways to participate in our group.
  • MHSCN is affordable. We are likely the only professional organization offering annual membership for $60.
  • MHSCN is thoughtful, yet practical. With “strategic” in our name, the thoughtful part may be pretty obvious. However, part of being strategic is learning how to be more effective on the job.
  • MHSCN stretches itself and its members. We strive to offer content (programs, newsletter, interest groups, etc.) that is based on breaking news and emerging trends and to use new tools and technology to help members deal with dynamic, growing job roles.
  • MHSCN is fun. We work hard to provide our members with temporary relief and respite from the pressure cooker that is modern health care planning and marketing.

History and background

In Minnesota, health care communications, marketing and planning professional organizations have existed for more than 35 years. The Minnesota Council for Health Care Marketing and Public Relations (MHCMPR), originally the Minnesota Council for Hospital Public Relations, began as a committee affiliated with the Minnesota Hospital Association in the early 1970s. Minnesota Health Strategy Network was created in 1981 out of a Council of Community Hospitals’ committee, with a focus on planning and marketing. In the summer of 1996, the two organizations came together to form the Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network (MHSCN).

The founders of MHSCN and its predecessor organizations saw a need for a network through which health care professionals could learn from each other the best approaches to strategy development, marketing techniques and effective communications. During this era of tremendous change in the way health care is delivered and managed, MHSCN continues to be a cost-effective and convenient source of education and support to planning, marketing and communication professionals.

In 2008, MHSCN was re-established as an official nonprofit organization, registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State. Now officially entitled the Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network, Inc., the new entity has assumed the purpose, goals and activities of the preceding MHSCN organization. The bylaws were revised in September 2008 to reflect the organization’s new nonprofit status.

MHSCN operates with the support of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), which also serves as its home base. The board consists of 16 members from numerous organizations and includes representatives from greater Minnesota as well as the Twin Cities metro area.

MHSCN continues the tradition of its predecessors, providing inexpensive educational programs for their members, including in-depth semi-annual conferences. The history of our organization is shaped directly by our members whose involvement is essential to its success.

  • 08/01/2006 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Happy 10th birthday, MHSCN!

    I remember well that day in August 1996, when David Peters [then president of the Minnesota Council for Health Care Marketing and Public Relations -- MCHCMPR] and Joel Stegner [president of the Minnesota Health Strategy Network -- MHSN] came to visit me in my office. They asked me if I would be willing to serve as the first president of the just-formed Minnesota Health Strategy & Communications Network.

    [Well, maybe “asked” isn’t the right word. Perhaps “strong-armed?”]

    It happened that the American Society for Health Care Marketing and Public Relations and the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development had recently announced their merger. Having worked together effectively in the past, the two local organizations created a steering committee that determined that their own merger would better serve members through stronger programming, enhanced communications and greater financial resources. One hundred percent of the voting membership agreed to the merger. 

    And thus, the Minnesota Health Strategy & Communications Network (MHSCN) was born.

    But it wasn’t an easy babyhood. Growing pains during that first year included turnover in some key board positions, a dwindling treasury, and discovery of how to be “all things to all members” for a more diverse membership. Hardy attendees of the first planned metro-area luncheon program came on the coldest day of the year. Another program had to be cancelled due to insufficient registration. And the annual conference, a mainstay of the former MCHCMPR, was not held that first year, in order to take time to assess the educational needs and preferences of members. 

    During that first year, there were some successes, including the initiation of the The Navigator newsletter, implementation of Special Interest Group sessions, and several educational programs. In the summer of 1997, instead of preparing a slate of officers for election, the Board of Directors agreed to serve for another year to give the fledgling organization some stability.  No membership campaign was held in 1997, but was resumed in 1998 for the 1999 calendar year.

    Since 1998, MHSCN has:

    • grown from about 175 to nearly 300 members
    • held a highly successful 2-day summer conference each year, adding the annual mid-winter conference in 2004
    • developed a Web site, with the third upgrade to be unveiled this summer
    • initiated Beacon Awards and Leadership Recognition programs
    • added a Mentoring/Networking Program
    • remained financially solvent

    And we’ve had some memorable experiences over the years.

    Who will ever forget the overnight storm at the 1999 summer conference at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge in Brainerd....a storm which toppled trees and knocked out power and water? 

    Or the fabulous bonfires at the 1998 conference in Two Harbors, the 1999 Ruttger’s conference and the 2000 conference at Oak Ridge in Chaska? 

    Or on the more serious side, how disaster planning became a key focus in our educational programs, as we all suffered the after-effects of 9-11-01?

    And then there were programs that included great “site visits” to new facilities, most recently Woodwinds Health Campus (fall 2001), Fairview Red Wing Medical Center (spring 2002), Northfield Hospital (spring 2003), and Allina Commons (spring 2006).

    We have a terrific organization with great camaraderie and exceptional programming, providing excellent value to our members. Happy Birthday, MHSCN, and may you have many more!

    About Nancy B. Miller

    Nancy Miller was the first president of the newly formed Minnesota Health and strategy Communications Network

    I have worked in marketing, communications and public relations for more than 45 years. My first 27 years were at North Memorial Medical Center, where I saw the onset and gradual acceptance of health care marketing.  The next 11-plusyears were at Allina Health, and my last several years in the work force were spent as a freelancer for Allina Health’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. During my career, I managed departments, budgets and staff and did all the “usual stuff;” and coming into the digital age, I survived – and even thrived – in the transition from print to web-based communications.

    I was active in MHSCN and its predecessor organizations during my entire career in health care. When MHSCN was formed by the merger of the communications/marketing group with the strategic planning group in 1996, I served as its first president and remained on the Board of Directors through 2009. Over the years, I also served as secretary, communications chair (newsletter editor) and membership chair. I helped to plan many MHSCN conferences and I attended most of them as well.

    I retired from the work force in 2014. Since then, I’ve been a volunteer with Feline Rescue, Inc., working at the shelter, serving as secretary on the organization’s Board of Directors, and producing two monthly e-newsletters. I’m pleased to remain heavily involved in marketing communications even if it’s for a different species these days.

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