(Banner graphic of PRSA 2019 Health Academy Conference logo)

PRSA 2019 Health Academy Conference

April 24–26 | Phoenix, Ariz.

The 2019 conference is in the planning stages; please check back for updates!

Below, for your reference, is the 2018 schedule, as an example of the conference program breadth and included topics.

Download 2018 Handouts

Wednesday, April 25

10 a.m.–6 p.m.


15 p.m.

Pre-Conference Event* 
The New Face of Crisis in Health Care: Get the 12-Step Plan for Navigating a Health Care Crisis via Social Media in Today's Always-On World.”*
Crisis planning today in health care means more than just doing a quarterly drill. It means monitoring social 24/7 and being ready with a plan to immediately respond should your brand become involved in a crisis!
Chris Messina-Boyer, senior partner, Finn Partners
Libby Mitchell, social media coordinator, University of Utah Health Care
Suzanne Winchester, associate director, public relations, University of Utah Health Care
Jennifer E. Smith, APR, director of corporate communications, Broward Health

*Additional Fee Required

6–8 p.m.

Meet the Health Academy Reception

Sponsored by

Finn Partners

Thursday, April 26

7:30 a.m.–4 p.m.Registration
7:30–8:45 a.m.Breakfast
8:45–9 a.m.Welcome
9–10 a.m.

Keynote Breakfast Plenary
“Health Care Communications in 2018: Clarity in Uncertain Times”
Justin DeJong, vice president, communications, American Medical Association
Alissa Crispino, vice president, media advocacy & communications, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Kristine Grow, senior vice president, communications, America’s Health Insurance Plans

Sponsored by:


10:15–11:15 a.m.  

Breakout Sessions: Set I

The New Advertorial: How a TV Partnership Elevates Video Content Strategy
Ashlie Graef
, communications specialist, Community Medical Centers
Michelle Von Tersch, APR, vice president, marketing/communications/public affairs, Community Medical Centers
Amy Wilson, APR, director, marketing/communications/public affairs, Community Medical Centers

Get It All: A Blog to Boost Volume, National Reputation, Morale & More
Robert Mackle, director of media relations and public affairs, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

#AnalyticsGOALS: Turning Earned & Owned Results Into C-Suite Storytelling
Kevin Volz, Analytics manager, MediaSource
Colleen O’Morrow, marketing & social media strategist, MediaSource

11-45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.

Luncheon Plenary
“The New Journalism and How To Cut Through the Noise and Get Your Brand Part of the National Conversation” 
Susannah Luthi, health policy and politics reporter for Modern Healthcare
Aimee Swartz, freelance health care writer who has written for various publications, including Newsweek and the Washington Post

Sponsored by:


1:45–2:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set II

Protecting Your Brand When It Is Not Your Crisis
Dr. Kerting L. Baldwin, APR
, administrative director, corporate communications, Memorial Healthcare System

Inside the Next-Generation Newsroom
Peter Evans, CEO, ExpertFile
Fernando Ferre, vice president, Associated Press
Gregory R. Shaw, director, International and Corporate Relations, International Federation on Ageing

Creating a Consumer-Focused Health News Engine
Amy Davis, division chair, communications, Mayo Clinic
Ron Petrovich, director, News and News Delivery, Mayo Clinic

3:15–4:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set III

Leveraging Real-Time Measurement To Drive Go-Forward Strategy
Michelle Strier,
executive vice president, bio tech, Spectrum
Rob Oquendo, executive vice president of Digital and Creative, Spectrum Science
Jason Beatty, vice president of Engineering, Tickr
Robert Allen, lead, digital operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb Global Public Affairs & Investor Relations

Influencer Marketing: A Healthy Messaging Option
Danica Kombol, CEO, Everywhere Agency
Jennifer Hayoun, health care digital team leader, Marina Maher Communications

Healthy Sleep: Lessons Learned From a 5-Year Public Awareness Campaign
Thomas Heffron, senior director of communications & advocacy, American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Shannon Quinn, executive vice president, L.C. Williams & Associates

5–7 p.m.

Health Academy Networking Reception — Teddy & The Bully Bar, 1200 19th St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
Paying tribute to one of our history’s most beloved presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, Teddy and the Bully Bar captures the essence of the 26th president, noted for his exuberant personality and range of interests as well as his “cowboy” persona and robust masculinity.
This restaurant’s distinctive seasonal menu features quality, locality and simplicity. Paying special attention to local producers, bringing the freshest fare available and representing President Roosevelt’s belief to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Sponsored by:


Friday, April 27

7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.Registration
7:30–8:30 a.m.Breakfast
8:30 –9:30 a.m.

Breakfast Keynote Session
The HealthiHer Project: How new insights into women’s health and well-being habits are redefining our approach to communicating with this key demographic”
Beth Battaglino, RN, CEO, HealthyWomen

Sponsored by:

GCI Health

9:45–10:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions: Set IV

In-Person Storytelling: The Art of the Media Roundtable
Joyce A. Lofstrom, APR
, senior director, communication, HIMSS
Karen D. Groppe, director, communication, HIMSS
Jessica Ranftl
, senior account executive, Edelman Seattle

Transforming the Patient Experience With Immersive Technologies
Mark W. McClennan, APR,
senior vice president, MSL
Grant Ogburn, head of client services, TiltShift

Chief Health Care Communications Officer as Chief Ethicist
Lee A. Davies, senior vice president, director of media strategy, Makovsky
Joel M. Roselin, assistant director of research compliance education at Columbia University, Columbia University

11 a.m.–Noon

Breakout Sessions: Set V

Denormalizing Marijuana Use Among CA Youth in an Age of Legalization
Rachel Tyree, communications & community relations director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Influencing Leaders: How To Maximize Your Access, Influence and Impact
James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus; president, The Lukaszewski Group

David vs. Goliath: Managing Your Brand and Your Voice in Diverse, Rural Health Care Communities
Veronica A. Reyes, outreach manager, BeWellnm, New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange
Christine Varela, partner, Desautel Hege (DH)

12:15 -1:45 p.m.

Keynote Luncheon Session
“Wellness: The Moving Target - Cultural Shifts Impacting Consumers, Category and Communications”
Merlin U Ward , director of cultural systems, sparks & honey

Sponsored by:


1:45 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Programming may be subject to change.