SHSMD Members’ COVID-19 Communication Samples and Insights

By The SHSMD Team posted 04-28-2020 11:59

SHSMD recently hosted a webinar featuring Alan Shoebridge, director of marketing at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System in Monterey, California, and Ryan Nagdeman, associate vice president of marketing at Rush University System for Health. They introduced the COVID-19 Communications Resources collection and during the webinar, asked participants to describe some of their communications successes. We’ve collected a few of the responses and grouped them by theme below.


Tiffany Conover, director of marketing and communications at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Indiana, shared that they “just produced a ‘Faces of Good Samaritan’ video commercial spot that is more of a branding spot not specific to COVID letting people know that our Good Samaritan family is here and ready to care for you.” They also produced a Facebook Live series with the Physician Network chief marketing officer who gives a weekly update and answers questions. The reach ranges from 23,000 to 30,000.

Addressing Community Questions

Kyla Burns, director of marketing at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow, Montana, commented that they facilitated “a Facebook Live Q&A for our county with our County Health Officer for the last 6 weeks, which has been very well received by our community and has fostered great communication within our area.” Kelli Avanzino, quality improvement specialist at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, Montana, said that they also provide Facebook Live sessions with various specialists. Shoebridge reported that their “Ask the Experts” podcasts have been very well received.

April Douglas, director of public relations at AltaPointe Health Systems in Mobile, Alabama, said that they are producing behavioral health care content for local chambers of commerce, news agencies and other community partners to share. 

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in Watertown, South Dakota, works ”with our county unified command to communicate to the public. I am one of two PIOs with the county unified command. We launched a local Facebook page as the hub of all local COVID-19 information and hold a community briefing live on Facebook and the government TV channel every weekday. The briefings always start with the mayor and we try to end on a positive note - like a therapist presenting on mental health tips,” according to Jen Bender, marketing/public relations specialist. 

Joel Philippsen, marketing manager at Columbus Regional Health in Columbus, Indiana, reported, “We've created a series of infographics in addition to daily stories and videos that we shared with a variety of audiences such as businesses and schools and also mailed directly to every residence with specific calls to actions and messaging on how to stay safe.”

Internal Communications and Thanks

Melvin Bower, chief marketing and communication officer at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa, Florida, shared, “We created a video of employees, both in facility and work from home employees, with the message, ‘We may be distant, but we are not apart.’ It was an internal communication piece to encourage employees.” 

Cinnamon Alberto, director of marketing and communications at United Helpers Management Company in Canton, New York, shared, “We have developed a landing page on our website that invites community members to post messages of support and encouragement of our staff.” Amy Mould, marketing manager at Cleveland Clinic, said that they have a Kudoboard for fellow staff and community members to share thanks

Kimberley Weaver, marketing communications manager at Lowell General Hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts, described their “weekly special COVID-19 edition of our newsletter named Teamwork that highlights:

  • Work going around the hospital.
  • Pictures of staff.
  • A weekly update letter from our COO and CNO.
  • The donations from community and so on

“This helps keep staff at home connected. The hospital has also supported a Pictures for Patients program, spearheaded by Jeanna Barbieri, a Lowell General Hospital Emergency Department nurse who recently sat with a patient in her final hours. The experience inspired her to do something, so she bought a small photo printer and started this incredible program. A social media post about the program struck a chord and has been shared thousands of times, and now this innovative program has brought our organization some local and national media attention from CNN, Fox News and more.”

Heidi Prescott, communications, media and content strategist at Beacon Health System in South Bend, Indiana, added, “We also created #beontheirteam and use the hashtag when we share the outpouring of donations and support from the community, especially with our associates.” She said they also created a #BeOnTheirTeam page on Facebook Workplace and use the slogan on their Facebook banner. 

Lauren Brendel, system director of marketing and communications at Bozeman Health in Bozeman, Montana, shared, “Our community has started Howling for Health Care Workers every night at 8 p.m. Our team created custom graphics to help promote the effort and they're now being turned into stickers and t-shirts.”


Trish McKinnor, senior marketing manager at Loretto Hospital in Chicago, shared that they developed a spiritual team to assist internal and external members with spiritual wellness.

Brendel added, “Resiliency is really important. We created an employee wellness task force staffed by employees redeployed from other areas. They round daily on all departments with resources, treats, and access to an employee-specific hotline to reach someone to speak with. Yesterday, the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming donated 600 boxes of cookies to us and that taskforce delivered   to all our care sites.”


Darren Moore, director of patient experience at ProMedica Coldwater Regional Hospital in Coldwater, Michiga,n said, “We posted a celebration video of a patient who has recovered from COVID going home. Amazingly popular.”

Kyra Preston, marketing specialist at Doylestown Health in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, reported, “We produced a PSA video with local public officials to highlight what our hospital and our community is doing to combat the virus.”

Mould added that the marketing team at the Cleveland Clinic helps to disseminate process and procedure best practices to national clinical audiences. For example, they created a video to demonstrate how to manually produce saline bags for dialysis in case of a shortage

Communicating about Emergent Care Needs

Ashly Lancaster, director, marketing and communications at Northern Regional Hospital in Mount Airy, North Carolina, said, “We are not yet seeing a surge in our communities or hospital , but are seeing 40 percent decrease in services lines across the board including a concerning decrease in ED visits. We began hearing stories of patients who were avoiding emergent care because they feared coming to the hospital and catching COVID. We worked with local media to write a story about how it's safe to come to the hospital and encouraged the community not to avoid us.”

For more information

SHSMD members can see the supporting documents and replay the webinar

If you have other stories to share about your organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please share here.

For more to help your hospital or health system’s COVID-19 response, visit SHSMD’s collection of resources for hospital and health system marketing, communications, business development and planning. The AHA and SHSMD collaborated to create a COVID-19 Communications Toolkit

Rush University System for Health shared its COVID-19 playbook for its clinical and operational response, which includes its communications strategy.