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  • 01/01/2022 1:34 PM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    Welcome to the newest member of the MHSCN board of directors!

    Meet Jenna Sheldon

    Jenna is an experienced communicator in a variety of sectors, including health care, nonprofits and higher education. Originally from Minnesota, Jenna has spent recent years working across the U.S., now returning home to fill her role as the director of communications at the Minnesota Hospital Association. She is excited to continue her passion of communications for the health care community and to be part of work in advancing the health of individuals and communities.

  • 12/21/2021 1:22 PM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    by Emily Lowther, president, MHSCN board of directors

    In late October, the MHSCN board was overjoyed to present our 2021 fall conference, “Evolution: The Transformation of Healthcare Marketing and Communications,” to a group of over 70 in-person and virtual attendees. As I shared in my opening remarks at the event, getting to conference day was a journey.

    Before October, we had not come together in person since our 2019 fall conference in Duluth. We had just opened registration for our spring 2020 conference when the pandemic arrived in Minnesota, introducing unexpected challenges to our personal and professional lives that we still feel today. After nearly two years of providing digital education and networking while we remained physically distant, this October we were able to offer a hybrid conference model to meet the needs of virtual and in-person attendees.

    I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to my colleagues on the MHSCN board for making our fall conference a reality. Planning a simultaneous in-person and virtual event – all against the backdrop of the pandemic – is no small feat. MHSCN benefits from the partnership and leadership of all of our board members.

    We are also grateful for our conference sponsors and our sustaining sponsors. Many thanks to:

    Most importantly, thank you to our members and guests for joining us at the fall conference. We appreciated being together – both in person and virtually – and we look forward to continuing to reconnect, regardless of what comes our way in 2022.

  • 11/15/2021 12:30 PM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    Welcome to the newest members of the MHSCN board of directors!

    Meet Madeline Riggs

    Madeline is an independent communications consultant with more than 20 years of healthcare experience. Madeline brings extensive experience in strategic planning, reputation management, brand positioning, content strategy, media relations and crisis communications.

    Meet Kristen Spargo

    Kristen is an experienced writer and communications strategist who specializes in health care, education and nonprofits. After six years of running her own consulting practice, she is excited to bring on a co-pilot: her husband, John Aiken. In January 2022, they're launching Take Flight Communications.

  • 11/01/2021 8:55 AM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    MHSCN's 2021 fall conference explored the evolution and transformation of health care marketing and communications in light of the change and disruption of the past two years. View the conference slides.

  • 09/02/2021 8:26 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    Over the last two years, the health care sector has experienced immense change and disruption. Join your colleagues on Oct. 29 at MHSCN’s 2021 fall conference to explore the evolution and transformation of health care marketing and communications.

    The End of the Runway: Consumerism, COVID-19 and the Coming Decade

    COVID-19 has driven significant changes in consumer behavior, some of which may stick for years. A number of these changes play into the advantages of new and non-traditional healthcare providers, such as Walmart Health, Walgreens or Teledoc Health, at the expense of hospitals, health systems and other traditional providers.

    While traditional providers have had years to react to the trend of consumerism, the honeymoon may be over. Those providers who want to keep ahead of the new competition and stay relevant to healthcare consumers need to understand these changes and their implications, and act quickly and decisively to stay ahead.

    Chris Bevolo, executive vice president, chief brand officer, ReviveHealth, has provided leadership and guidance in the areas of strategy, brand, marketing, digital, and change management to hospitals and health systems across the country for more than 20 years.

    Chris is an award-winning author of six books, including Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital, which became a field guide for driving transformation in hospital marketing departments across the country. He is a frequent keynote speaker and featured presenter on healthcare marketing and branding topics.

    Before joining ReviveHealth, Chris was the owner and lead strategist of Interval, a Minneapolis-based healthcare marketing firm he founded in 1995. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

    Covering COVID-19 from the Front Lines

    Pulitzer Prize-winning healthcare journalist Jeremy Olson has been reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic for the Star Tribune since its inception. He has covered the pandemic from all angles – from the rise of the virus to its deadly spread to long-term healthcare facility outbreaks, hospital capacity issues and provider fatigue to daily spread to vaccine development and implementation to the most recent rise of the highly infectious delta variant. While reporting, Jeremy has relied upon information and contacts in the state and federal government, healthcare organizations, providers from around the state, patients, academia and more. Listen to his story firsthand and learn how communicators can work with reporters like Jeremy to help him provide the best, most accurate and objective information possible to the public.

    Jeremy Olson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering health care for the Star Tribune. Trained in investigative and computer-assisted reporting, he has covered politics, social services and family issues.

    A University of St. Thomas graduate, Jeremy completed fellowships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, Poynter Institute and New York Times. Honors include a Premack Public Affairs award for scrutinizing a schizophrenia drug trial, a SABEW award for uncovering abuses of meatpackers and a Casey Medal for examining deaths in foster care. His Pulitzer-winning series on child care led to a decline in child deaths. He and his family live in Edina.

    The State of Mental Health of Healthcare Systems and National Trends

    With the COVID-19 pandemic heading into its second year, the impact it has had on the U.S. healthcare industry cannot be underestimated. From severe nurse shortages, early retirements, constant changes and many unknowns, there are a wide range of issues we have not encountered previously. This presentation by Liz Ferron will help you understand what is happening with healthcare employees today and how you can support them and your organizational goals. Liz will share trends and observations she’s seeing from the 40+ healthcare systems she supports with the goal of helping you understand the issues to be better prepared when your staff are struggling.

    Liz Ferron, MSW, LICSW, physician practice lead, has practiced at VITAL WorkLife since 2001 and has her master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota. Liz assisted with the development of the physician and healthcare solutions for VITAL WorkLife, and currently oversees the execution of many of these solutions. Liz has contributed to the development and analysis of national surveys, has presented on physician well-being at national and regional conferences and has been published in several medical journals.

    Currently, Liz provides training and consultation to healthcare administrators and individual practitioners in the areas of stress management, navigating change and effective communication. To strengthen her ability to assist healthcare professionals in building resiliency, Liz has completed programs in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindful Self Compassion offered by the Center of Spirituality at the University of Minnesota, and the “Transform Your Life” resiliency program offered by Amit Sood, M.D., of Mayo Clinic.

    Dismantling Systems of Harm: Racial Trauma in Healthcare

    During this presentation, Dr. Asfia Qaadir will provide attendees with an overview of racial trauma throughout history in healthcare settings and why this matters in their roles as healthcare strategists and communicators today. Dr. Qaadir will also get into the biology of trauma and what it truly means to address and affect systemic change when it comes to issues around diversity, equity and inclusion within healthcare organizations.

    Asfia Qaadir, D.O., is the clinical director at PrairieCare Maplewood and was recently named clinical consultant to diversity, equity and inclusion for the organization. In this role, Dr. Qaadir oversees the integration of DEI in clinical care across PrairieCare’s multiple locations. PrairieCare is a Twin Cities-based psychiatric health care organization dedicated to providing mental health care for children, adolescents and adults.

    Dr. Qaadir has been an attending physician at PrairieCare since 2016 and assumed the role of clinical director at PrairieCare Maplewood in 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago and medical school degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr Qaadir completed her residency and subspecialty training in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

    Holistic Digital: A New Approach to Driving Results

    Holistic digital is a data-driven, “growth marketing” approach that drives leads and revenues by increasing the productivity of your digital marketing. When SEO, UX and CRO are considered as one and implemented properly, it leads to optimized website/digital marketing that produces incremental results. Keyword strategy and relevance can significantly impact conversions while page layout and content strategy impact SEO, PPC and other traffic. Optimizing conversion rates depends on a clear understanding of the user journey, neuromarketing and persuasive design psychology. It can be complicated, but when broken down it can be understood by all.

    Cory Docken is the vice president of digital strategy at O8, an agency in Minneapolis, helping clients on a national level take a holistic approach to their digital marketing initiatives. He has over 20 years of design, marketing and technology expertise, working with both small and large clients across retail, higher ed, healthcare and B2B. In his career he has helped world-class brands tackle their most complex marketing technology projects with his knowledge of strategy, design and development.

    Outside of O8, he is the 2022 president-elect of MHSCN (Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network), as well associate vice president of programming with AMA (American Marketing Association) Minnesota.

    Maximizing Media Interviews in Good Times and Bad

    We all know the media is a valuable conduit to reaching key stakeholders, whether your organization is communicating vital COVID-related health information, launching a new initiative or is in the midst of a crisis. This session will help you prepare your spokespeople – executives, providers, leaders, etc. – by building their confidence with the tools and techniques to maximize any media opportunity. You'll also explore strategies for creating solid key messages, avoiding common pitfalls and answering tough questions.

    Liz Miklya, senior vice president, corporate issues, Weber Shandwick, is a strategic storyteller; helping clients tell their organizations’ stories to key stakeholders in a way that’s credible, memorable and influential. Liz does that through messaging strategy, executive and spokesperson interview training, presentation training and crisis counsel.

    A former Emmy-award winning journalist with 10 years in the business, she helps clients across the country prepare for interviews related to product or campaign launches, crises and other developments.

    Liz has provided media training and key message strategy for dozens of clients in a variety of industries including healthcare, retail, government and technology. Liz received her master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her bachelor’s degree in government is from Harvard University.

    Sound compelling?

    Register today!

  • 07/23/2021 7:00 PM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    The MHSCN Awards of Excellence are returning for 2021! The awards honor exceptional efforts in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications from the past year.

    Award submissions will be accepted in five categories:

    • Best in Public Relations: This category recognizes projects designed to build and maintain relationships with various publics and create a positive image or reputation for the organization within its broader community. MHSCN members and nonmembers are eligible to submit entries in this category.
    • Best in Marketing: This category recognizes projects that used outreach strategies to urge members of a specific target market to take a specific action. MHSCN members and nonmembers are eligible to submit entries in this category.
    • Best in Communications: This category recognizes projects that involved designing resonant messages, delivering them to your intended audiences through the right channels, and receiving feedback. MHSCN members and nonmembers are eligible to submit entries in this category.
    • MHSCN Professional of the Year: This category honors a health care communicator, marketer or public relations professional who has demonstrated exceptional skills and leadership in health care communications, marketing or public relations. To be considered for the award, the nominee must be a MHSCN member. Self-nominations are welcome.
    • MHSCN Rising Star: This category honors a health care communicator, marketer or public relations professional in the first five years of their career in health care communications, marketing or public relations who demonstrates strong abilities and growing expertise in health care communications. To be considered for the award, the nominee must be a MHSCN member. Self-nominations are welcome.

    The entry fee is $50 for the first submission and $25 for each additional submission from the same individual.

    Awards will be presented at the MHSCN Fall Conference.

    With questions, complete our contact form.

  • 06/02/2021 2:30 PM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    by Cory Docken, president-elect, MHSCN board of directors

    Hello MHSCN members, I hope your summer is off to a great start. There is no doubt that this past year has been unlike any other and as things start to evolve back into a sense of normalcy, I want to reflect on some important things I learned during this trying time, in particular around the topic of mental health.

    Being involved with the MHSCN board as well as having healthcare clients has given me a first-hand view of what healthcare marketers and communicators were dealing with this past year. I witnessed their roles descend into that of crisis communicators, often working double the hours, and with some of my close colleagues sleeping in their own offices. Some even pivoted to operational roles to help with the influx of patients. I couldn’t believe it. I want to give a huge shout-out to all those that work in clinics, hospitals, and health systems for everything you did and keep doing to help your organization get through an incredibly challenging time in history.

    One thing is for certain: with trying times comes stress. If there is one thing we witnessed, it’s that the challenges of this last year pushed us to our limits, including with our mental well-being.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides the following mental health facts:

    • Mental illnesses affect 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness.
    • Examples of mental illnesses including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder.
    • Mental illnesses can disrupt a person’s thinking, feelings, or mood.
    • Mental illnesses may affect someone’s daily functioning or ability to relate to others.
    • These illnesses are biological, affecting brain structure and chemistry, and have many causes, including genetics, the environment, and negative life experiences.
    • Mental illnesses respond to a variety of treatments, however, early intervention is critical to aid in recovery.

    Over this last year, I witnessed some clients ceasing operations, plenty of furloughs and it was very common for organizations to freeze spending on the marketing of products or services. It was a very uncertain time for business.

    Facing these challenges and seeing my colleagues face similar challenges made me think about mental health more than ever. I found myself doing things like talking to my primary care provider about mental health for the first time, cranking up the bike rides, changing my diet, and checking in with friends and family members to ensure they were doing ok.

    As things start to awaken and get back to normal, let’s not forget about our mental health. There will always be challenges in our life, maybe even another pandemic (hopefully not!). Talking about mental health and checking in on ourselves and others is something we can make a habit of doing. There are people who care and help is available. In addition to your primary care provider, NAMI Minnesota provides a great starting point for mental health resources.

    I hope you all have a fantastic summer and take the time to enjoy yourself! Thank you for being a part of MHSCN.

  • 05/27/2021 2:34 PM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    Welcome to the newest members of the MHSCN board of directors!

    Meet Aimée Jordan

    Aimée is a strategic communications professional with over 17 years of experience in news reporting, healthcare media relations, crisis management, and corporate communications. She currently holds a position for M Health Fairview as the Media Relations Manager. 

    Meet Mike Seyfer

    Mike is the CEO of Hailey Sault, a digital marketing firm. Mike brings extensive experience in healthcare marketing, research, digital strategy, and planning.

  • 03/24/2021 10:01 AM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    by Emily Lowther, president, MHSCN board of directors

    Spring has arrived in Minnesota, bringing longer days, warmer temperatures (we hope!) and – in a typical year – the final steps in planning for MHSCN’s spring conference. As we all know, however, the past year has been anything but typical.

    During this extended time of physical distancing, connection has become more important than ever. At MHSCN, we have worked to fulfill the need for professional connection by embracing digital education and networking. Our 2021 calendar includes virtual education and networking events, with topics based on the interests expressed by our members. We hope that you will find these opportunities to learn and connect with peers from across the state valuable.

    I am especially looking forward to our next MHSCN Member Connect virtual networking event on April 22, which will feature a presentation by Dr. Tyler Arvig, R3 Continuum associate medical director, on how we can move forward after experiencing COVID fatigue and burnout, followed by time for discussion and reflection. For me, this session comes at the perfect moment, when we are over a year into the pandemic’s challenges but unsure of what the future holds.

    Our 2021 virtual events are open to members and guests, with members receiving the added benefit of free registration. Members also have access to our new MHSCN video library, where you can revisit our programming at your convenience.

    Our members are the heart of MHSCN and we always want to hear from you about how we can best meet your needs. Please share your ideas, suggestions and topics of interest. We look forward to working together to provide meaningful points of connection in 2021.

  • 08/04/2020 1:41 PM | Cory Docken (Administrator)

    MHSCN provides networking and educational opportunities designed to improve the professional skills of those in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications. While we typically offer in-person events throughout the year, we have reimagined our education offerings for the remainder of 2020 to meet members’ professional development needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We heard from members in response to a recent survey that they value the education opportunities MHSCN provides and are interested in participating in virtual events.

    In place of our in-person fall conference, which had been scheduled for Oct. 2, we are offering a new virtual education series with sessions in fall and winter 2020. This online series will allow participants to engage with MHSCN’s relevant and timely content while still adhering to state best practice guidance for maintaining health and safety during COVID-19.

    More information about MHSCN’s virtual education series – including dates, topics and registration information – will be available soon. In the meantime, please unsave the date for our canceled fall conference and stay tuned for our virtual education series schedule.

    We appreciate your partnership and we look forward to exploring new education and networking opportunities together.


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