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  • 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.


  • 01/08/2020 4:33 PM | Cassi Chrzanowski (Administrator)

    As we near the end of the month, year and decade, we at MHSCN have a lot to be thankful for. We're thankful for our members, event attendees and sponsors. I, personally, am also very thankful for my fellow MHSCN board members. These individuals find time in their busy work and personal lives to share their talents with all of us. They have all been so important to me as I grow in my profession, offering resources, advice and maybe most importantly, friendships! 

    In particular, I want to thank outgoing MHSCN President, Paul Fiore. He and I joined the MHSCN board at the same time, and he has been an incredible mentor over the last three years. He is as professional as he is kind. He needs to work on his Connect Four game though! Thank you Paul for leading our organization this year! 

    Some highlights from 2019 include: 

    • Our Spring Conference at Como Zoo in St. Paul, with dynamic digital content and a special guest, Cupid the Penguin
    • A neat Networking Event with a panel of experts on being creative in healthcare 
    • A revamp of our Award of Excellence program
    • Our Fall Conference in Duluth, with speakers who challenged us to expand our roles as marketers and communicators, an inspiring awards presentation and a memorable social at Hailey Sault
    • A mini website refresh. Check it out!

    We look forward to offering excellent conferences and networking events in 2020. Watch for details about our Spring Conference coming very soon. 

    Happy and healthy holidays to you all! 

  • 10/30/2019 3:10 PM | Cassi Chrzanowski (Administrator)

    Welcome to the newest members of the MHSCN Board of Directors!

    Meet Annie Handford

    Annie is Business Development Executive at Streamworks, a direct mail, printing and fulfillment company in Blaine. She has a wealth of print and direct mail experience, with over ten years in consulting, customer service and program management expertise>

    Annie is a community-driven advocate and divides her time amongst a variety of causes. She volunteers with the Humane Society of the US Volunteer District Leader, campaigns for social justice through fair housing with Clare Housing, promotes clean energy with electric cars and visits the Capitol on lobby days.

    Annie enjoys relaxing when at home with her fabulous husband David (who drives an electric car) and by walking her two large Labrador Retriever rescues—Mieka and Rudy. She also spends time reading books (real paper print books!) on current events or by her favorite author, Stephen King; rooting for local teams the Minnesota Twins and Lynx, watching old movies and getting outside by creating native landscaping.

    Meet Nick Hanson

    Nick has been working in healthcare communications for more than a dozen years at institutions including the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, Mayo Clinic and most recently in his current role at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare -- where he manages media and social strategy.

    Hanson has expertise in crisis communication, public affairs campaigns, social media strategy and management, media relations and digital strategy and communications. Hanson has spent time in the agency world as a digital strategist at Himle Rapp and Company and as a counselor at Carmichael Lynch. He was also a reporter at the St. Cloud Times and Mankato Free Press.

    He enjoys the outdoors, sports, pop-culture, reading and his family Shyla (wife), Violet Rose (3), Lydia Reese (infant) and Pup (12, pit bull mix).

    Meet Hyedi Nelson

    Hyedi is an account director at Belmont Partners, a results-focused public relations and communications agency, and has nearly a decade of health communications experience in both agency and corporate settings. Hyedi leads the Bellmont Partners Health Practice Group and holds a master of arts degree in health communication from the University of Minnesota

    In 2017, Hyedi was an Ad Fed Minnesota's 32 Under 32 winner, selected from more than 100 nominees in the organization's annual recognition of the best young talent in marketing, advertising and public relations.

    Besides spending time with her friends, husband and four year old son, Hyedi loves music, running and food. She also really enjoys sleeping, but doesn't do as much of that as she'd like!

  • 08/11/2019 5:21 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)
    Our MHSCN Bridging New Connections 2019 Fall Conference Duluth Minnesota MHSCN's mission for fall conference 2019 is to help healthcare communicators and marketers explore their expanding roles.

    That's why we've invited local and national experts to speak on these topics.

    Keynote: Marketers, Do You Speak CEO?

    Speaking “CEO” is essential for marketing professionals. And yet it is often an area where many marketers struggle. Hear firsthand how a senior vice president of marketing at a growing, five-hospital not-for-profit healthcare system, LCMC Health, successfully made the case for marketing investment to her CEO. In the past three years, the CEO supported a multi-million dollar investment, including: rebranding the health system; adding new FTEs to build a corporate Marketing team, and investing in a CRM tool.

    Figuring out how to connect with your CEO takes more than knowing your follower count, social sentiment, and content performance. You can’t expect your CEO to know what you are talking about and know how to apply it if you aren’t able to translate it into the CEO filter through which they view operations: How is your work impacting the business and strategic objectives?

    Christine Albert, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for LCMC Health, provides strategic leadership for all marketing planning and operations across this a health network based in New Orleans, LA. She also develops and executes marketing plans to position her organization as the market leader.

    She received a master’s of public policy degree from The George Washington University and bachelor’s degrees in mass communications and French from Loyola University, New Orleans. She is a member of the board of the American Hospital Association’s Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD).

    Patient Experience Efforts That Drive Market Share

    Consumers ask their friends, family – and perfect strangers – for insights on the products or services they’re looking to use, including health care providers and services. Delivering a premier patient experience will drive positive word-of-mouth marketing and market share. Health care marketers play a large role in aligning the various patient experience efforts in their organizations. This session will cover ideas that St. Luke’s has used on how to effectively do this.

    Jessica StauberJessica Stauber, MBA, APR, Director of Marketing and Business Planning, St. Luke’s Health Care System is enjoying her second stint at St. Luke’s. Earlier in her career, she was a public relations specialist at St. Luke’s for four years; she then joined a Duluth advertising agency for 12 years.

    Jessica returned five years ago as director of marketing and business planning. She and her team of seven professionals feel privileged to market St. Luke’s and the amazing health care their colleagues provide.

    The Challenges of Rural Obstetrics Care 

    Nationally, hospitals are closing their obstetrics wards at an alarming rate. Minnesota Public Radio Senior News Reporter Catharine Richert will detail how she reported a four-part series on disappearing obstetrics units throughout Minnesota. Her presentation will look at how rural hospitals are coping with market pressures beyond their control and what the long-term impact may be for communities in which hospitals no longer have obstetrics units or carry out planned deliveries. She will also discuss how she covers health care topics in her region, which includes Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health Care System, and how she identifies a good story.

    Catharine Richert, News Senior Reporter, Minnesota Public Radio, covers the Southeast Minnesota region for MPR News and is based in Rochester, Minn. Most of her career has been spent covering politics, both in Washington, D.C., and at the state capitol in St. Paul. More recently, her coverage of the state’s bungled rollout of MNsure and the Affordable Care Act won several state and regional investigative reporting awards. In 2017, her investigations into two publicly funded (but failing) arts institutions in Rochester earned her the Eric Sevareid Award from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

    Catharine has a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Rochester with her husband, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, and their three children.

    Communication Challenges to Build and Nurture Community Health Partnerships

    Health systems and hospitals have recognized that new collaboration is needed with community health organizations if health organizations are to be successful in the age of population health and the journey from volume to value. These partnerships embrace schools, faith-based communities, police and fire departments, housing and economic development agencies. To accomplish joint program planning, mobilize needed resources, and then govern these relationships wisely, effective communication strategies and messaging is essential for the sustained vitality of these collaboratives.

    Jim RiceJim Rice, Ph.D., Managing Director and Practice Leader, Governance and Leadership, Gallagher, brings more than 40 years of experience in the development of strategies for successful formation and operation of integrated health systems in 35 countries. He was a founder of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Society for Strategy and Marketing, and an executive engaged in forming the Allina Health System.

    He will share lessons learned about wise communications for community health partnerships from his more than 12 years of service on the AHA’s Foster McGaw Award program. The award has recognized hospitals and health systems who best demonstrate how they form and govern community health partnerships for health gain, not just health care.

    Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG), is a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

    Helping Your Organization Thrive Through Change: Change Management Essentials

    Change is the new normal at most organizations – and communications, marketing and public relations professionals play a crucial role in helping ensure that plans are carefully considered and effectively executed. Equip yourself to support your organization through change with this practical session, which takes the best and most important elements of change management methodologies and boils them down to a process that is straightforward and easy to use.

    Learn how to guide your organization through a change in a way that:

    • Ensures individuals have what they need to be successful in making the change
    • Minimizes confusion, resistance and disruptions that can happen in transition
    • Cements the change in your organization’s operating procedures and culture

    Meredith FoxMeredith Fox is the founder and managing director of Portage Partners Consulting, a firm focused on supporting Minnesota’s civic-sector leaders with strategic planning, community engagement and implementation support services. Her passion is to empower the people and organizations in our community that are making the world a better place.

    She has a degree in political science and gender studies from The American University in Washington, D.C. and a master’s of public policy degree from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. She's held leadership positions in Minnesota state government, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools, and has professional skills and certifications in strategic planning, leadership coaching, design thinking, process improvement, community engagement, organizational change management, group facilitation, organizational design, project management and executive decision-making.

    Covering the News: What Health Care Reporters are Watching

    The health care industry is an exciting area to cover, especially as major hospital developments are underway in northeastern Minnesota. A Duluth News Tribune reporter will share about this industry and how she navigates reporting on it. She will give insight into how she selects stories, manages challenges that sometimes arise with covering health care and best works with public relations professionals.

    Kelly Busche will speak on health care reportingKelly Busche is the business and health reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Her coverage includes business and the health care industry, with an emphasis on how they impact Northland residents. She was recently hired at the paper after a summer internship. Busche’s passion lies in uncovering untold, impactful stories and is incredibly excited to cover these stories in this wonderful community.

    Busche graduated in May from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where she earned degrees in journalism and political science. During her time as an undergraduate, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Minnesota Daily, the University’s independent, student-run newspaper. Busche also served as an intern for APM Reports, where she uncovered how members of Congress favored certain congressional districts when awarding a popular transportation grant. Busche additionally held a part-time internship with the Star Tribune and a full-time internship with the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

    Sound compelling?

    Register for Fall Conference today!

  • 07/31/2019 9:35 AM | Cassi Chrzanowski (Administrator)
    Get ready for Duluth

    How are we ALREADY planning for back-to-school physicals and flu shot season? Despite our wishes to have a forever summer, the reality is that fall is upon us.

    That also means that we are planning the MHSCN Fall Conference, and I am happy to welcome attendees to Northern Minnesota for the festivities.

    We plan to have a free networking event on Thursday, September 26 and will have a robust line-up of speakers for you the following day.

    Plus, we've worked out lodging deals for those who wish to stay the weekend in Duluth!

    We're excited to hear speakers touch on themes like these:

    • Communications challenges related to community health
    • Impact of patient experience on marketing efforts
    • Tools for your change management tool box Speaking "CEO" & making the case for an investment in marketing
    • Challenges and opportunities in rural medicine

    The only thing better than summers in the sun are fall colors on the North Shore!

    We hope you'll join us for our MHSCN Fall Conference on Friday, September 27 in Duluth.

    A professional headshot of Cassi

    Cassi Chrzanowski
    MHSCN President-Elect

  • 05/24/2019 9:28 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    Darla Safarian

    photo of Darla Safarian

    Marketing Coordinator

    Consulting Radiologists, Ltd.

    As the in-house marketing, creative and communications specialist for Consulting Radiologists, Ltd., Darla is the website designer and graphic artist, while also developing marketing campaigns across print, digital, and social media platforms.

    Darla studied Graphic Arts and Web Design at Hennepin Technical College and Marketing at St. Mary’s University. Her previous experience in international trade and logistics helped create a solid foundation of planning, problem solving, as well as a unique perspective on vendor relations that Darla now brings to her career in healthcare marketing -- and the MHSCN Board of Directors.

  • 05/10/2019 1:10 PM | Emily Lowther (Administrator)

    The MHSCN Awards of Excellence program is returning refreshed for 2019! The awards honor exceptional efforts in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications from the past year.

    For this awards cycle, we have simplified the award categories and added some new honors recognizing health care communicators, marketers and public relations professionals.

    Award submissions will be accepted in three categories:

    • Best in Public Relations, Marketing and Communications: This category honors any marketing, public relations or communications project or effort substantially conducted in 2018. Examples include marketing campaigns; media efforts; video series; print or digital publications; and other communications, marketing or public relations work products. MHSCN members and nonmembers are eligible to submit entries in this category.
    • MHSCN Professional of the Year: This new 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.
    • MHSCN Rising Star: This new 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.

    The awards submission period opens May 20 and closes June 28. Submissions will be collected online.

    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.

    Orientation webinar on May 22

    MHSCN is offering an orientation webinar for members interested in learning more about the awards, categories and entry process. The webinar will be held Wednesday, May 22, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

    To sign up for the webinar, RSVP to Emily Lowther, MHSCN board member. Access information will be distributed to attendees in advance of the webinar.

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