GCI's healthcare unit chosen to help NYC on bioterror preparedness

NEW YORK: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is embarking on a bioterrorism-preparedness effort, and has selected GCI's New York healthcare team to help it build its program.

NEW YORK: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is embarking on a bioterrorism-preparedness effort, and has selected GCI's New York healthcare team to help it build its program.

GCI will work with the DOHMH on eight specific areas. It will develop a media communications plan, conduct pre- and post-test surveys, plan information-exchange sessions, plan a media symposium, develop education materials, produce two educational videos, coordinate a speakers bureau, and generate media placement.

"We were looking for an external firm that could help develop a communications plan that goes beyond media stories," explained Sandra Mullin, associate director and director of communications for the DOHMH. "Media outreach is just one vehicle when dealing with a matter of high concern like this.

In order to be effective communicators in a crisis, you have to go beyond that."

The $298,000 RFP is for services provided until August 30, 2003. It was sent out to 30 agencies, of which eight responded. GCI emerged triumphant from the final three-way shootout. Mullin would not reveal names of the other two final agencies.

The DOHMH will pay for the agency's services out of the $1 million allocated for public outreach from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

New York City received a total of $23 million in funding - a portion of which was designated for communications - for all bioterrorism preparedness.

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