How do you then encourage consumers and patients to take a proactive approach to their health?
We have to do more than encourage them. There is no nationwide public education curriculum or policy on health. Many school
systems don't even offer health education and those that do tend to be rather narrowly focused on safety issues that are
right in front of the kids' noses, like drug and alcohol abuse. But there's another message that children need to get and
that is to understand the value of healthy habits and the significant impact that basic life behaviors have on long-term health
and well-being. Enabling our school systems to incorporate such curricula as a way of life can really make a difference.
How are companies assessing the effectiveness of their communications with the public?
Within every leading pharmaceutical company, there are multiple activities, programs, and investments that could be put to
better use from a public-health and reputation standpoint. So it would make good sense to take an inventory of existing programs
in the company to determine which of those truly represent best practices. We're all comfortable with the transparent and
the obvious. But the idea that the best way to get from Point A to Point B is a straight line doesn't really hold true when
it comes to communications. In communications, having the endorsement or echo chamber of a third party is extraordinarily
important. And now it is especially important to build new partnerships and ensure that indirect and direct channels, such
as advertising, are fully leveraged. What's most encouraging is how the pharmaceutical industry has recently taken significant
steps to re-examine its own policies and ask itself how it could be doing a better job of direct-to-consumer advertising.
That's certainly an important step. I like to think that PR means powerful relationships. To build relationships requires
mutually beneficial experiences, dialogue, and a content-rich, interactive technique.
Edelman's life sciences division added four new clients: the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Genitope corporation,
Ikaria, and Tercia. Edelman will also be the agency of record for Medcom USA • Ovation Pharmaceuticals retained HealthInfo Direct to implement its corporate communications plan and redesign its Web site.
Financial Dynamics opened an office in Hong Kong; Diana Footitt will direct communications programs in the new Asia office.
Access Communications hired Nicholas A. Squittieri as medical director. • Perla Copernik joined Burson-Marsteller as director of its US healthcare practice. • Douglas Linton was selected as president of ValueCentric's consulting group. • Infomedics selected Michael Ball as vice president of marketing and product management. The company also elected Stuart Samuels to its board of directors. • Adient, a division of CommonHealth, promoted four: Jennifer Cerulli and Tina Simitz to vice presidents, account group supervisors; Deanna Holland to vice president, account supervisor; and Michael Sahns to assistant account executive. The company also hired eight: Tom Maples as group copy supervisor, Todd Williams as group art supervisor, Daniel Anderson as art director, Antoinette Portelli as senior designer, Paul Triolo as senior traffic coordinator, Michael Koch and Kimberly Wong as traffic coordinators, and Timothy Groeger as production assistant. • Dipika Dabhi and Conor Fogarty joined Fogarty, a CommonHealth division, as program coordinators. • Laura Perry was hired as vice president, account group supervisor at CommonHealth's Altum.