Mayo Clinic looks to grow thought leadership role

ROCHESTER, MN: The Mayo Clinic has hired Widmeyer Communications to expand its position as a thought leader in the healthcare industry.

ROCHESTER, MN: The Mayo Clinic has hired Widmeyer Communications to expand its position as a thought leader in the healthcare industry.

“We're an organization with a 150-year history in medicine, medical research, and education. As healthcare continues to change, we want to continue to be a resource for healthcare in the nation and around the world,” said Chris Gade, chair of the division of external relations at Mayo Clinic. “One way to do that is identifying the appropriate forums and places for thought leadership.”

In addition to thought-leadership support, Widmeyer is also helping Mayo raise awareness about a strategic research alliance with Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, to put together a data center in Cambridge, MA, on healthcare outcomes and cost.

“Mayo has a lot of medical information...what drugs work, what don't. Compiling that information will lead to a new level of care for patients,” said Widmeyer CEO Scott Widmeyer.

Widmeyer is also providing strategic communications counsel as Mayo plans for a 20-year, $5.5 billion expansion of its presence in Rochester, MN. Before the project can begin, the clinic is seeking $585 million from the state to improve the city's infrastructure to better accommodate patients. A proposed bill to fund infrastructure upgrades around the clinic is making its way through the state legislature.

Mayo hired Widmeyer based on work it did for other clients. The contract is for one year. Gade declined to disclose the firm's budget.

Widmeyer is not Mayo Clinic's AOR. The institution will continue to work with other vendors in various markets. For instance, it collaborates with Himle Rapp & Co. in Minnesota.

The agency hire took place seven months after the Cleveland Clinic hired Ketchum as its first PR AOR last summer. The medical institution wanted to raise awareness of the services it provided.

Gade said he was aware of Cleveland Clinic's decision, but it did not influence Mayo to hire Widmeyer.

“What motivated Mayo was what we are hoping to accomplish around the nation and internationally,” he said.

In addition to Mayo, Widmeyer was recently hired by the Committee for Economic Development to promote the potential benefits of enacting campaign finance reforms in New York State similar to those in New York City.

The group hopes the change would encourage more citizens to give and to run for public office, said Mike Petro, acting president of CED.

The organization will unveil an analysis on the matter at a policy luncheon on March 8, at which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been invited to deliver keynote remarks.

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