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New Book Highlights Opportunities for Healthcare Industry Communications

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Communication efforts on behalf of the public and private healthcare industry have never been as sought-after and sophisticated as they are today, according to a new book, "Health Industry Communication: New Media, New Methods, New Message," authored by Nancy J. Hicks and Christina Mazzola Nicols of Ketchum, one of the world's leading public relations agencies.

The book, released this fall from Jones & Bartlett Learning, provides a broad look at the scope of communications in the healthcare industry by examining every sector of the industry and the numerous ways that communication impacts healthcare.

"If you look back at the significant events related to U.S. healthcare in the last half-century, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and patient activism, the launch of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and the growth of consumer health and wellness, the communications function has played a major role in facilitating public awareness and advocacy," said the book's co-author Nancy Hicks, senior vice president and associate director of Ketchum's North American Healthcare Practice. "Today, the healthcare industry represents one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and there are no signs of that decreasing, suggesting there are vast opportunities for students and professionals interested in pursuing communications careers in the field."

The textbook fills a critical gap in literature available to students in communication, health administration and public health. Featuring best practices and case studies from notable practitioners representing private and public health organizations, the chapters offer a 360-degree view of the world of health communications, from institutional communication and marketing, consumer communication and social marketing, communication to achieve policy change, and media and measurement. The book covers more than 25 special topics that impact health communicators, such as building a national brand in pediatric healthcare, crisis communications in the health sector, and hospital communications in a time of change.

"Now is an extremely exciting time to enter the health communications field," said the book's co-author Christina Nicols, vice president and group manager of Ketchum's social marketing practice and director of research for Ketchum's Washington office. "There are opportunities to explore and master a broad array of specific topics within health policy, environmental health, disease prevention, epidemiology, health literacy and other areas. Health communicators can now develop very rewarding specialties in their careers, depending on individual interests. The field overall is particularly rewarding because communicating about important issues ultimately contributes to the betterment of society."

The book's contributors include the following:

  • Katherine Lee Balsamo, owner of KLB Communications
  • Michelle Davis, former vice president of marketing and public affairs, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Steve Erickson, chief communication officer, American College of Cardiology
  • W. Douglas Evans, director of George Washington University's Public Health Communication and Marketing Program
  • Phyllis E. Greenberger, president and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research
  • Jill Griffiths, vice president of communications for Aetna
  • Kathleen Harrington, government relations division chair for the Mayo Clinic
  • Mary V. Hornig, vice president of finance and operations for the Society of Women's Health Research
  • Jeff Levine, former CNN healthcare correspondent
  • Dennis McCulloch, director of public and government relations, University of Kansas Hospital
  • Jeffrey Molter, former associate vice president of health sciences communications at Emory University
  • Jeff Nelligan, press secretary for U.S. senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
  • Kristin Paulina, public relations associate, Sam Brown Inc.
  • Douglas Petkus, president of Petkus Communications Consultants
  • Richard A. Puff, assistant vice president of academic health center public relations at the University of Cincinnati
  • Kathleen Donohue Rennie, partner at McGraw Group
  • Elizabeth Sell, director of communications for Aetna's direct to consumer and product group
  • Lisa M. Tate, CEO of WomenHeart
  • William A. Tatum, former director of constituent relations and membership, Partnership for Prevention
  • Roba Whiteley, executive director of Together Rx Access

"Health Industry Communication: New Media, New Methods, New Message" is published by Jones & Bartlett Learning. Among other locations, the book is available at, and For more information about Ketchum's healthcare work, visit or Ketchum's healthcare blog, Health-E Minds.

About the Authors

Nancy J. Hicks has been a leader in healthcare communications for more than 25 years. She has held national positions in public relations agencies and has worked with top-tier companies in every sector of the healthcare industry. Hicks is senior vice president and head of the North America Healthcare Practice of Ketchum, a global communications firm. She is a senior counselor for healthcare clients and helps build business across the Ketchum network. She has extensive experience in strategic brand building, corporate positioning, issues and crisis management, and consumer education campaigns. Prior to joining Ketchum, Hicks was head of the healthcare practice of Hill & Knowlton's Washington office and directed the firm's national healthcare provider practice.

Christina Mazzola Nicols is vice president and group manager in the social marketing practice of Ketchum, as well as director of research for Ketchum's Washington office. She has more than 20 years of experience in communication campaigns and marketing research, and has focused on health-related communications for the past nine years. She has conducted research in a broad range of health topics, including breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, seasonal flu, allergies and heart health. Her recent speaking engagements include the PRSA Health Academy and the ExL Pharma Conference. Before joining Ketchum in 1999, Nicols was a senior account supervisor in the Washington office of Hill & Knowlton.

About Ketchum

Ketchum is a leading global communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. Named 2010 Large PR Firm of the Year (Holmes Report and PR News) and the winner of an unprecedented three consecutive PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), visit

About Jones & Bartlett Learning (

Jones & Bartlett Learning, a division of Ascend Learning, is a world-leading provider of instructional, assessment and learning-performance management solutions for the secondary, post-secondary and professional markets. Jones & Bartlett Learning endeavors to develop educational programs and services that improve learning outcomes and enhance student achievement by uniquely combining authoritative content written by respected authors with innovative, proven and engaging technology applications that meet the diverse needs of today's instructors, students, and professionals. Across a broad spectrum of fields ranging from public safety to health professions, science, math and medicine, the Jones & Bartlett Learning educational technology applications and instructional assessment and performance-management solutions are revolutionizing how instructors teach, and how students and professionals learn.

SOURCE Ketchum
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