Communicating during COVID-19: What we can learn from the early days of the pandemic - March 23

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As the nation’s doctors, nurses, and health professionals are on the front lines of treating patients for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, communicators in academic medicine play an important role in engaging the media, lawmakers, and other stakeholders to ensure trust and allay fears. The team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and Nebraska Medicine were among the first to deal with these communications challenges. 

As early as February 7, more than 50 Americans were evacuated from China to Omaha where they were isolated at a Nebraska National Guard facility. Members of the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine team provided support to this federal operation. Additionally, Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship were evacuated to the National Quarantine Center on the UNMC campus, and the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit was activated for their treatment. 

Please join us on Monday, March 23 at 1:00 pm ET for an educational webinar in which experts from UNMC/Nebraska Medicine will share their COVID-19 communications strategy and experience to date, including early lessons learned and best practices for the nation’s academic medical centers. Learn from their experience, including:
  • Communicating with stakeholders, including local community members, internal leadership and staff, and local, state and federal government leaders
  • Coordinating media relations and social media activities
  • Determining the role of communications staff in pandemic planning

Elisa Siegel
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges  

As chief communications and marketing officer, Elisa K. Siegel leads the AAMC’s efforts to advance public understanding and support of medical schools and teaching hospitals and their contributions to the nation's health. Her team manages the association's message strategy; earned, paid and social media; strategic and advocacy communications campaigns, public opinion research, marketing strategy, brand and reputation management, and digital and print publishing. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of the Public Affairs Council.

Bob Bartee, M.A. 
Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, University of Nebraska Medical Center

As vice chancellor for external affairs, Bob Bartee is responsible for government relations, public relations and alumni relations at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Mr. Bartee is a leader in designing strategies for public policy advocacy, communications, and strategic advancement. He lectures and speaks on topics such as Leadership in the 21st Century and The Politics of Health. Long involved in state and community affairs, Mr. Bartee in 2005 received the Marvin D. Swede Johnson Achievement Award, jointly bestowed by four national associations of higher education for lifetime achievement in governmental relations.  

Frank Lococo, MBA
Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Nebraska Medicine

From more than three years, Frank Lococo has served as the vice president of marketing and communications for Nebraska Medicine, the primary hospital network affiliated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In that role, Frank oversees marketing strategy, creative services, media relations, internal communications, digital communications and outreach activities. Prior to arriving in Omaha, Nebraska, Frank was with another academic health system in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for more than 14 years. 

Bill O’Neill, M.A.
Director, Public Relations, University of Nebraska Medical Center

In his position as director of public relations at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Bill O’Neill provides the strategic and creative direction for the promotion and protection of the image and brand at UNMC, working closely with colleagues at Nebraska Medicine and other University of Nebraska campuses. In his role, he oversees media relations, communication, community relations, digital communication, graphic identity and event planning at UNMC. A Nebraska native, O’Neill has been with UNMC for two decades. 

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