HHS sets up blog in anticipation of upcoming conference

WASHINGTON: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is using the time leading up to a Washington, DC summit on pandemic influenza to have an open discussion in the blogosphere.

WASHINGTON: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is using the time leading up to a Washington, DC summit on pandemic influenza to have an open discussion in the blogosphere.

With the assistance of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, who won the pandemic flu account in February, the HHS has opened the blog, http://blog.pandemicflu.gov/, to a number of leaders and is hoping to use the online debate to gain momentum coming out of next week’s summit.

Michael O. Leavitt, HHS secretary, and Rebecca Patton, president of the American Nurses Association, are among those blogging.

“We really wanted to broaden the reach of Wednesday’s meeting,” said Stephanie Marshall, director for pandemic communications for HHS. “We thought there was a real opportunity to broaden the discussion and felt the blog would be a great way to do that and reach out to the general public.

Next Wednesday, leaders from within the faith-based community, the business community, community organizations, and healthcare leaders, will gather in Washington DC for the Pandemic Leadership Forum.

The blog launched on May 22 and is set to run until June 24, Marshall said. Following the meeting, Ogilvy will spend the summer launching tools for community leaders to help them prepare people for the possibility of pandemic flu.

Linda Weinberg, SVP at Ogilvy, said the blog had received tremendous feedback. She reported 5,000 unique visitors over a three-day period from 76 countries and all 50 states.

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