CDC awards $12m in work before end of fiscal year

ATLANTA: As the federal fiscal year draws to a close, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded communications contracts worth more than $12 million combined.

ATLANTA: As the federal fiscal year draws to a close, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded communications contracts worth more than $12 million combined.

Washington-based Hager Sharp won two multi-year contracts worth about $6.2 million in total. The first contract requires it to conduct initiatives for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division and the Division of Oral Health.

The firm will launch efforts to encourage consumer lifestyle changes to reduce cardiovascular and stroke mortality, with a focus on controlling blood pressure. Hager Sharp will work with Palladian Partners on strategic communications, digital strategy, and editorial and graphic design.

“When we are asking people to make lifestyle changes, were making a really big ask,” said Hager Sharp CEO Garry Curtis. He said he is hopeful that engaging partners in the medical community will boost the effectiveness of the message.

Ogilvy has worked on various stroke- and heart disease-related initiatives for the CDC in the past.

The CDC also awarded Hager Sharp a two-year contract to support communication and education efforts for oral health issues, including community water fluoridation. The CDC estimates that only 73.9% of Americans who get their water from municipal systems benefit from optimal fluoridation.

Weber Shandwick won two contracts worth about $1.5 million in total to support the National “Know More Hepatitis” education campaign, according to a contracting officer.

“It is believed, that through implementation of a national educational campaign, Hepatitis will be placed on the national agenda, knowledge and awareness about Hepatitis B and C will improve, the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease will decrease, and early identification and treatment of the disease will drastically increase,” the CDC said in RFP documents.

The agency will be tasked with developing a comprehensive communications plan and conducting research to determine the best way to create a national Hepatitis-awareness campaign. It will also be required to develop a media outreach plan, and create outreach materials and strategies involving new media, nontraditional channels, and social media, according to RFP documents.

Every year, approximately 15,000 Americans die from liver disease associated with Viral Hepatitis, and another 4.5 million people live with chronic Hepatitis B or C.

A representative from Weber did not respond to a request for comment.

The CDC also contracted with two consulting firms with strategic communications operations to promote immunization. Oak Ridge Associated Universities and subcontractors Booz Allen Hamilton and Mediassociates will launch a campaign to promote the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The CDC noted in award documents that the HPV preventer has not seen a steady increase in use, as have other vaccines.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities' outreach efforts will target the parents of preteen boys and girls nationally. Campaign components will include research, print and digital media placement, development of communication materials, and outreach to the healthcare community. The two-year contract is worth more than $2.2 million, according to award documents.

“We look forward to beginning this work and, particularly, integrating social marketing strategies to increase awareness of this important health issue among parents, teens, and preteens,” said Marcus Weseman, VP of Oak Ridge Associated Universities' health communication and technical training program.

The CDC also awarded a contract to Westat to target parents of infants and children younger than 2 years old and childcare and healthcare professionals about the benefits of vaccines. The contract is also worth $2.2 million, according to award documents.

A representative from Westat did not return a request for comment. The CDC also did not return requests seeking comment about the awards. Both vaccination accounts are new.

In a busy procurement season for the federal agency, the CDC has also hired Ogilvy, FHI 360, and ICF International to support numerous initiatives.

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