The Marketer’s Role in Population Health Initiatives

Kate Gillmer and Dan Dunlop will present "The Marketer’s Role in Population Health Initiatives  " at the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network 2019 Annual Conference. To learn more from Kate, Dan and other expert speakers, please join us!

At this year’s MCSMN conference, we will be leading a session that looks at the role of the healthcare marketer in supporting population health initiatives. We will review recent case studies from Copley Hospital (Morrisville, Vermont), The Practical Playbook (Durham, North Carolina), and Renown Health (Reno, Nevada). As an introduction to our presentation, we’d like to share an abstract of the Copley Hospital story and the significant role their marketing team plays in supporting the organization’s population health initiative.

The Changing Healthcare Ecosystem

As we adjust to this new healthcare ecosystem that places greater emphasis on population health management, we are more convinced than ever that one of the keys to population health improvement is collaboration between healthcare organizations, community organizations, and local public health organizations.

For those of us who work for and with provider organizations, it is important to recognize that population health is not a challenge that is solved in the physician’s office. Our health is shaped by the communities in which we live, work, and play. Therefore, we’re not going to significantly impact the upstream causes of poor health—which impact the health of entire patient panels—in a clinical setting. The bulk of this work has to take place beyond the hospital’s walls. Collaborating with public health and community organizations, who are well equipped to address challenges such as food deserts, substandard housing, and unsafe neighborhoods, just makes sense.

Marketers add value to population health initiatives. If population health improvement will largely be the result of multi-sector collaborations between provider organizations, public health groups, community organizations, church groups, and payers, who better to help facilitate and promote these collaborations than marketers? We are natural community builders and are adept at building coalitions!

Copley Hospital’s Response

Recognizing the need for collaboration with community organizations, the marketing team at Copley Hospital in Morrisville, Vermont was inspired to develop a hospital-sponsored blog that would bring together representatives of various community organizations as contributing bloggers. Organizations who focus on some aspect of community health would be invited to join the initiative. Not only would the blog generate valuable content about health and wellness, but the mere act of bringing these organizations around the table would potentially facilitate future collaborations.

The original list of Live Well Lamoille bloggers included representatives of the following organizations:

  • Copley Hospital
  • Morrisville Department of Health
  • Town of Morristown
  • The North Central Vermont Recovery Center
  • Lamoille County Mental Health Services
  • Johnson State College
  • Family Practice Associates – Cambridge
  • Lamoille Home Health & Hospital and The Manor
  • Healthy Lamoille Valley
  • Lamoille Family Center
  • Building Bright Futures
  • Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports

This is such an impressive list because representatives of these community organizations are coming together to share health content—ranging in topics from meal planning and healthy recipes to local mental health resources and the importance of early childhood education—with local residents. And it is all happening under the Copley Hospital umbrella.

This is emblematic of the future of healthcare in communities across our country. It is about organizations coming together, united in their desire to improve population health. In order to make a sizeable, lasting impact on population health, hospitals must work together with other organizations to tackle the root causes of chronic disease.

We hope you will join us on Tuesday, October 22 at 10:00 a.m. for more examples of how marketers can support their organizations’ population health initiatives.


Kate Gillmer is a social media and digital communication specialist at Jennings, where she oversees digital strategy and engagement on the agency’s accounts. Kate has planned and executed live Twittercasts from surgical suites during operations and has launched blogs for healthcare organizations that range from mommy blogs to hospital-sponsored community health blogs. As the lead marketing strategist for the Practical Playbook, Kate serves as Jennings’ in-house specialist on population health management, community health, and the social determinants of health.

Dan Dunlop is a principal of Jennings, a leading healthcare marketing and audience engagement firm. He is extremely active as a healthcare marketing consultant, blogger, author and sought-after speaker. He serves on the editorial board of eHealthcare Strategy & Trends and the judging panel for the Digital Health Awards. Dan regularly contributes articles to a number of healthcare marketing publications including Ragan’s Health Care Communication News, SmartBrief for Health Care Marketers, Strategic Health Care Marketing, Healthcare Strategy Alert, and Healthcare Marketing Report. He is a board member (vice president) of the New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo) and co-chairs SHSMD’s Digital Engagement Taskforce of the American Hospital Association.

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“Our health is shaped by the communities in which we live, work, and play”. So true. Its also important to recognize that we often will engage with patients more frequently in the digital world than in the face to face world. I think it’s essential to rthat ally think through the interaction between websites, social media, EHRs, and Face-2-Face interaction, and the corporate INTRAnet and understand how they interact, possibly including mathematically modeling them. For example, could social media directors of two competitive organizations coordinate a social media campaign for certain share disease processes, etc…

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