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The medical public affairs office at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is being restructured and renamed WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications. The new structure will place greater emphasis on supporting school-wide strategic initiatives through compelling and inspiring stories and marketing initiatives that set the medical school apart and highlight how The school’s educational, clinical care and research missions help improve our communities and the world.
The change comes at a pivotal time for WashU and WashU Medicine, according to David H. Perlmutter, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs, Professor Emeritus Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin, and Dean George and Carol Bauer. As the medical campus continued to respond to the challenges of the coronavirus crisis, WashU’s medical school has made ever-increasing strides in the areas of research and clinical care.
“We’re a campus in motion,” Perlmutter said. “We have created more scholarships for our students and modernized our program, and we are expanding and diversifying faculty, staff and management. We are also in the midst of an unprecedented building campaign on the medical campus that will strengthen research programs and improve patient care. The medical school is leading a university-wide campaign to commercialize WashU research and is aggressively seeking new, non-traditional sources of funding to fuel and accelerate the work of our faculty. We have ever-changing stories to share.
The changes to WashU Medicine’s marketing and communications come at a time when all is not well across the country. “Like all medical schools, we face significant social, cultural, economic and political headwinds at regional, national and global levels: the global pandemic; a mental health crisis; a rapidly aging population; a difficult political culture plagued by racism, misogyny and resentment; and an uncertain economic environment,” Perlmutter said.
“Yet other external forces are impacting our missions, including labor shortages in critical clinical support, research and administrative positions; disruptive competition from private equity firms and large corporations with extensive balance sheets; pressure on reimbursement and piloting of patients by payers; and generational shifts in patient expectations. As one of the top five medical schools, we compete with top East and West Coast medical schools for research grants, faculty, students, residents, and fellows. We are also driven internally by the imperative to stay on the cutting edge by adapting and improving long before our success paradigm becomes obsolete in a rapidly changing world. Maintaining our momentum in the face of these important challenges will require constant strategic communications and clear and powerful messages to our external audiences that align with the goals of our school and university.
Going forward, WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications will work more closely with school and department leadership to create marketing campaigns that elevate the school brand; develop strong internal communications that support department efforts and reach employees; and generate more strategic external communications that emphasize faculty expertise and what sets WashU Medicine apart from our peer institutions.
To accomplish this, WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications will forge strong partnerships with University Marketing & Communications; Academic advancement; and academic leaders in innovation and commercialization, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications will more fully engage and leverage the enormous potential of its partnership with BJC HealthCare (BJC).
WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications will have two main areas of focus. The Brand and Marketing branch will lead brand awareness efforts, as well as strategic marketing campaigns that support the priorities of the school and its leaders, and will provide enhanced web and digital content strategy and support. to design. It will also develop compelling stories about the faculty and WashU Medicine that support Medical Advancement’s mission and ensure these stories align with and support the university’s messages and goals.
The second area of interest is medical communication. This group will be responsible for all aspects of news and media relations – bringing exciting stories to the public about the impactful work the medical school community is doing in research, patient care and health care. education – and in collaboration with brand and group marketing, will elevate stories of clinical innovation and excellence in partnership with BJC. Additionally, the communications team will partner with academic, clinical, and administrative leaders to support strategic internal communications, provide support for medical school public affairs campaigns, and develop internal employee communications.
Greg Barrett has accepted the new lead role: Vice Chancellor for Biomedical Strategy, Marketing and Communications. During his 4½ years in medical school as Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Projects and Medical Campus Outreach, Barrett has played a key role in developing strategic initiatives that engage collaborators across the medical school. industry and philanthropists around the institution’s vibrant research enterprise. Previously, he served as President of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. He also served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Development at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine; associate vice president for development and associate vice president for institutional strategy at the Illinois Institute of Technology; and Director of Major and Principal Gifts at Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago.
“Greg has a passion for academic medicine, and he will bring that passion along with his strategic vision and leadership strengths to WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications,” said Perlmutter.
Joni Westerhouse, who has led medical public affairs since 2014, will serve as founding associate vice chancellor for medical communications. Within the next month, a national search will be launched for an Associate Vice Chancellor for Medical Marketing/Chief Marketing Officer.
“The new WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications is part of our strategy to better resource and support our scientists, educators and clinicians in the work they do,” Perlmutter said. “We look forward to even more remarkable stories about WashU’s legacy of excellence.”